Rita Moreno Joins Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story Remake

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As of Tuesday, Fox confirmed that Rita Moreno would be joining the remake of West Side Story, playing the character Valentina, a reconceptualized version of Doc, the owner of the corner story where Tony works.

In 1961, West Side Story first premiered as a film. Rita Moreno played the character Anita, which won her the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

Now, she’s returning to the film—something she at one point didn’t she think she would ever do. In October, she told EW, “I think it would be distracting…No, no, no I don’t belong in there in any capacity.”

But, now, she’s changed her tune, saying, ““Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself revisiting this seminal work,” says Moreno. “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!”

Director Steven Spielberg has teamed up with Pulitzer-Prize winning playwright, Tony Kushner to adapt the original version of West Side Story.

Spielberg said, “From our earliest discussions, we wanted to include Rita Moreno in our production,” Spielberg now says. “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.”

Filming is set to begin this upcoming summer in 2019.