‘West Side Story’ Director Steven Spielberg Gave Rita Moreno This Heartwarming Gift

by Jeremy Spirogis
Rita Moreno in West Side Story

Steven Spielberg is directing an innovative new film version of West Side Story. The music is a Romeo and Juliet tale of prohibited love between a Caucasian guy Tony and Puerto Rican girl Maria. Instead of this Montagues while the Capulets, it is the Sharks while the Jets gangs. Rita Moreno was at the 1961 film of West Side Story, and Spielberg cast her inside the movie.

Rita Moreno in West Side Story
Rita Moreno | Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Moreno ended up being on a Television Critics Association panel for One Day at a Time since it comes back to tv on Pop. After the panel she talked with reporters about focusing on Spielberg’s movie while the best present he offered her. West Side Story is within theaters December 18, 2020.

Rita Moreno ended up being equally skeptical about Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ as anybody

When there’s a vintage film of a vintage music, people believe you ought to keep that alone, not to mention the individuals whom starred on it. 

“I know there’s some people who love the original movie and there are some people going, ‘Oh God,’” Moreno stated. “You’re in for some amazing surprises. He’s just a great filmmaker. What can I say? He’s a very, very cinematic man.”

Even though it is a remake of a familiar tale, Moreno needed to hold peaceful about any modifications Spielberg is making.

Steven Spielberg's West Side StorySteven Spielberg's West Side Story
Left to Right:
Anybodys (Ezra Menas), Mouthpiece (Ben Cook), Action (Sean Harrison Jones); Jets frontrunner Riff (Mike Faist); Baby John (Patrick Higgins); Tony (Ansel Elgort) and Maria (Rachel Zegler); Maria’s bro and Sharks leader Bernardo (David Alvarez); and Sharks users Quique (Julius Anthony Rubio), Chago (Ricardo Zayas), Chino (Josh Andrés Rivera), Braulio (Sebastian Serra) and Pipo (Carlos Sánchez Falú) | Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Ramona Rosales.

“I have been begged not to reveal anything about the film itself,” Moreno stated. “i will recognize that but i could tell you you’re set for some happy shocks. Same music, various choreography, [choreographer] Justin Peck that is dazzling.”

The new role ended up beingn’t the gift

Screenwriter Tony Kushner produced an innovative new part of Valentina for Moreno to relax and play in West Side Story. That’s a rare chance but even that is maybe not the present she’s speaing frankly about.

“I mean, who has that experience?” Moreno stated. “And I won an Oscar for that and I won a Golden Globe for that. This is major. This movie is coming out December 18 on Steven’s birthday and I’ll be 89. Is that crazy? 89.”

29-year-old Rita Moreno couldn’t have thought doing ‘West Side Story’ again

Rita Moreno had been 29 whenever she made West Side Story the first occasion. With her entire job in front of her, she never ever will have thought performing the film once more with Steven Spielberg.

“She wouldn’t believe it,” Moreno stated of her younger self. “I cannot tell you how thrilled I am, how astonished I am, how privileged I feel. This is amazing. I was 88 just a few weeks ago, December. They’re very, very different because when we did the original film, I was working with two directors, Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise.”

Steven Spielberg fixed this dilemma with ‘West Side Story’

West Side Story is a vintage however it’s additionally a product of 1961. Steven Spielberg updated it with contemporary sensibilities. For instance, he cast Latinx stars because the Puerto Rican figures. In the 1961 movie, Caucasian actors wore dark makeup products. Even Moreno needed to wear deeper makeup than her natural skin tone.

Rita Moreno and George ChakirisRita Moreno and George Chakiris
Rita Moreno and George Chakiris | Ernst Haas/Ernst Haas/Getty Images

“The Sharks are hispanic for real, for real, for real,” Moreno stated. “Steven and Tony killed by themselves to try and make right a number of the things that weren’t believed about. I’ll attempt to be as kind as i could. The makeup products they utilized ended up being colour they’re. When we performed West Side Story, George [Chakrisi] and I also needed to make use of a rather, extremely dark makeup.”

But also this is certainlyn’t the major present Steven Spielberg gave Rita Moreno.

Here may be the present Steven Spielberg gave Rita Moreno

Any present from Steven Spielberg is a keeper, nevertheless the one he offered her at the conclusion of shooting West Side Story is a coming in contact with bookend to her job.

“One of the best gifts I’ve ever received in my life and at my request was the clapboard for the very last take which I clapped,” Moreno stated. “Steven gave that to me and wrote on it, ‘For Rita, friend, icon and dreamer.’”

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