Newcomer Rachel Zegler Cast as Maria in ‘West Side Story’ Remake

rachel zegler west side story

The upcoming remake of “West Side Story” is really moving forward. Famed director Steven Spielberg is at the helm and Ansel Elgort will be playing the role of Tony. Now, the film finally has its Maria. Unknown actress Rachel Zegler will be playing the lead role. According to the Hollywood Reporter, she responded to an open casting call for Latinx actors. As part of her audition, she sang “Tonight” and “Me Siento Hermosa.” After that audition, she now has landed what should be a star-making role.

west side story

However, Maria isn’t the only role that has been cast. Broadway actors Ariana DeBose and David Alvarez will play the roles of Anita and Bernardo, respectively. The actors who originally occupied both roles, Rita Moreno and George Chakiris, won Oscars for their portrayals. So, DeBose and Alvarez surely have great parts to play. Also, theater actor Josh Andres Rivera will occupy the role of Chino.

All four actors will join Elgort and none other than Rita Moreno herself. Moreno will play Valentina, an expanded version of the character of Doc from the original.

Here’s what Ariana DeBose said about being cast as Anita:

“I’m honored to follow in the footsteps of the remarkable women who have played Anita — including Chita Rivera and, of course, the incomparable Rita Moreno. I relate so strongly to Anita — a strong Puerto Rican woman who came to New York in search of opportunity — and I feel so fortunate for the chance to work with this amazing cast and creative team.”

The film is scheduled to start filming this summer. Spielberg will be directing while Oscar nominee Tony Kushner is penning the script.

How do you feel about these casting announcements? Also, are you excited about the “West Side Story” remake? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!

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Written by Matt St.Clair

Matt St.Clair is a freelance film journalist currently residing in Connecticut. He is a member of the Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association and the Online Film & Television Association.


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