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Rita Moreno to return for Steven Spielberg's remake of West Side Story

Whenever a remake or reboot rolls around, it's somewhat expected that they'll try to secure the involvement of someone involved in the original film, and in the case of Steven Spielberg's upcoming remake of WEST SIDE STORY, Deadline reports that Rita Moreno has signed up.

In the original 1961 film, Rita Moreno played the role of Anita, the girlfriend of Bernardo, the leader of The Sharks, as well as a close confidante of Maria (Natalie Wood). "Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself revisiting this seminal work," Moreno said. "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!" This is a bit of a departure from Rita Moreno's previous statements, as she told Entertainment Weekly last month that she thought it would be "strange" and "distracting" if she made an appearance in the remake. Moreno will be playing Valentina in the new film, a "reconceived and expanded" version of the character of Doc, the owner of the corner store in which Tony (Ansel Elgort) works. In addition to appearing in the film, the actress will also be serving as an executive producer.

Steven Spielberg had long wanted Rita Moreno to play a part in his WEST SIDE STORY remake, saying, "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." Production on WEST SIDE STORY will kick off in the summer of 2019. Confession time, I've never actually seen WEST SIDE STORY (although it is sitting on my shelf), so my exposure to Rita Moreno comes from quite a different place: HBO's Oz on which she played Sister Peter Marie.

Source: Deadline

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