Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ Just Cast Its Maria, Anita, Bernardo, and Chino
Steven Spielberg’s upcoming production of West Side Story is making one teen’s dreams come true. Although several big names were reportedly interested in the role of Maria, Deadline reported Monday, January 14, that 17-year-old Rachel Zegler, a high school student from New Jersey, has nabbed the coveted gig. She’ll be making her film debut opposite Ansel Elgort, who is playing Tony.
Zegler is a newcomer to Hollywood, but she had a brush with viral fame in December, when she posted a video of herself singing (and slaying) “Shallow,” from A Star Is Born, to an empty auditorium. (She also has a YouTube channel, where you can see more of her covers.)
someone: you use autotune😤😤😤😤
— rachel zegler (@rachelzegler) December 14, 2018
Zegler found out about the open auditions via Twitter in January 2018 and submitted a video of herself singing “Tonight” and “Me Siento Hermosa” (“I Feel Pretty”). “I am so thrilled to be playing the iconic role of Maria alongside this amazing cast,” she said in a statement to Deadline. “West Side Story was the first musical I encountered with a Latina lead character. As a Colombian-American, I am humbled by the opportunity to play a role that means so much to the Hispanic community.”
Deadline also revealed the names of the actors who will be playing several other key parts. Broadway star Ariana DeBose has been cast as Anita, David Alvarez will appear as Bernardo, Josh Andrés Rivera will be taking on the role of Chino.
“When we began this process a year ago, we announced that we would cast the roles of Maria, Anita, Bernardo, Chino, and the Sharks with Latina and Latino actors,” Spielberg told Deadline. “I’m so happy that we’ve assembled a cast that reflects the astonishing depth of talent in America’s multifaceted Hispanic community.”
The newly announced cast members will join original West Side Story star Rita Moreno, who is acting as an executive producer and playing Valentina, a “reconceived” version of the Doc character from the 1961 film.
What do you think about the cast so far? Let us know @BritandCo!
(photos via Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Family Equality Council + Donaldson Collection/Getty Images)