Rita Moreno, star of the original West Side Story and one of very few individuals to ever achieve EGOT status, has been tapped to star in and produce Steven Spielberg’s remake of the musical classic. Moreno originally played the role of Anita in the 1961 movie version of the Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim musical, for which she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar.
According to a new report, Rita Moreno will be playing a new role as the owner of the corner store that Tony works in this time around. Originally, the role was a character named Doc, but it’s been expanded to accommodate Moreno’s talents in the Steven Spielberg remake. Additionally, Moreno has been brought on board as an executive producer on the project. The actress had this to say in a statement.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself revisiting this seminal work. And to be asked by Steven Spielberg to participate is simply thrilling! Then to work together with the brilliant playwright, Tony Kushner, what a glorious stew! I am tingling!”
Just 15 people in history have the EGOT honor, which belongs to people who have won at least one Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and a Tony. Rita Moreno is one such individual, making her a very special talent and her work in West Side Story helped her to achieve that honor. Some of her other work includes appearances in movies such as Singin’ in the Rain and Carnal Knowledge. She also won one of her Emmys for an appearance on The Muppet Show. Moreno currently stars on Netflix’s One Day at a Time.
It was expected that Steven Spielberg’s next project following this year’s blockbuster Ready Player One was going to be the long-gestating Indiana Jones 5. However, that sequel has been delayed until 2021, with the script currently being rewritten, which led the prolific director to tackle the West Side Story remake next instead. The movie has been described as a passion project for the filmmaker behind such classics as E.T, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler’s List and Jurassic Park. Spielberg had this to say about bringing Rita Moreno back for the remake.
“From our earliest discussions, we wanted to include Rita Moreno in our production. Her Anita is one of the greatest musical performances ever filmed, and a personal favorite of mine. We created an original role for her, and we feel beyond fortunate that Rita will bring her extraordinary gifts as an actress, as well as her deep understanding of ‘West Side Story‘ to this production as an executive producer.”
Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver) has also been tapped to star in the remake as Tony. The script for the remake was penned by Tony Kushner, who previously worked with Steven Spielberg on Lincoln. West Side Story does not yet have a release date, but production is slated to begin in summer 2019. We’ll be sure to keep you posted as more details on the project are made available. This news was first reported by Deadline.