Rita Moreno, best known for playing the iconic character of Anita in 1961’s West Side Story, will return for the film’s remake directed by Steven Spielberg. And though that first go ended with the EGOT winner cinching the Best Supporting Actress role, 57 years later she will be playing Valentina, a newly created character replacing the role of Doc, the corner store owner where Tony works.
“From our earliest discussions, we wanted to include Rita Moreno in our production,” Spielberg told Deadline. “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.”
Moreno is ecstatic about returning to the Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim classic.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself revisiting this seminal work,” she told Deadline. “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!”
Filming for West Side Story is set to begin in the summer of 2019.