Rita Moreno touched to finally have a true ‘Western story’

“Honestly, do West story scary, ” Steven Spielberg said at the film’s lavish premiere in New York on Monday night. His new film is Spielberg’s first musical; Of course it’s also a re-enactment of the beloved Broadway play that has been turned into an Oscar-winning film.

“There is a lot of risk when you take a masterpiece and make it different,” he said. “But I am willing to take the risk, because great stories should be told over and over again to reflect different perspectives and contemporary values. And it was a childhood dream to fulfill West story. I’ve wanted to tell this story for years. The first time I heard West story album when I was 10 years old, and it’s been a part of me ever since. ”

His new West story not based on the 1961 film, but on the original 1957 Broadway musical directed by director and choreographer Jerome Robbins, composer Leonard Bernstein, book writer Arthur Laurents and lyricist Stephen Sondheim, who passed away last Friday at the age of 91—Two weeks before the new movie premieres on December 10.

Spielberg collaborates with writer Tony Kushner and Sondheim for the updated story, which tells a classic tale of forbidden love and bitter rivalry between two street gangs in 1950s New York. The new movie still features plenty of epic dance and song segments, including fan-favorite songs “America” and “Tonight.” It also focuses more on prejudice, racism, xenophobia and poverty.

“The film is relevant and very timely with what is happening along our borders and the systems set up in this country to deny anyone who is not white,” said Spielberg. “It’s an important part of our story. The characters say and do things in our movie that they don’t say or do on stage, or in the 1961 movie. And we cast all the Latinx actors for the Shark boys and the girls. Shark. ”

In previous Broadway renaissances, many non-Latinx actors have played the Puerto Rican Shark; in the 1961 film, several white actors wore brown face makeup while playing those characters.

“I am very proud of each Latino character played by a Latino actor and that is very important because we are embodying what it means to be Latino,” said Rita Moreno, who won an Academy Award for her role as Anita in the original 1961 film and appeared as Doc’s widow, Valentina, in the new film. “Representing Latino and Hispanic artists in Hollywood has a long way to go, but we are starting to change that. There are many talented people among the Latinos, and Jennifer Lopez not the only one. We are everywhere! ”

Rachel Zegler, a Colombian Latina from New Jersey, appeared on the big screen as the romantic heroine Maria. Zegler was in high school when she auditioned for the film; Her only professional singing job before West story performed at the wedding. Zegler recounts: “Steven told me to use the fear I was experiencing as a first-timer in the film industry to push my character forward and use it in scenes. my spin. . “That’s the best advice anyone can give me. I was under a lot of pressure on myself, and I think that worked for me. He really gave me a lot of advice. I can call for advice whenever I need it. He is listed on my phone as ‘Creative Sponsor!’

Her great love, Tony, is played by Ansel Elgort, who says that one of his most memorable moments under Spielberg’s direction was in an emotional and violent scene where his best friend, Riff, is stabbed. “It was time for my reaction, and not much happened. I couldn’t express real emotions,” Elgort recalls. “I think after three or four minutes, Steven came and grabbed me and looked me in the eye and said, ‘You didn’t bring it.’ He knows how to press your buttons. He’s a master manipulator in the best possible way. He pushes you, and you’ll never settle down. He always wants the best in everyone. He really helps you grow as an actor and a performer. Being a part of this movie has been a dream come true. To sing and dance in a musical is crazy! ”

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https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2021/11/west-side-story-premiere-rita-moreno-stephen-spielberg Rita Moreno touched to finally have a true ‘Western story’


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