Just two months after saying it would be “strange” to be in the remake of the West Side Story, Rita Moreno has had a change of heart. The actress, singer, and dancer responded to a question about whether or not she wanted to be in the new film, but in October had said no. “I think it would be distracting. No, no, no I don’t belong in there in any capacity,” she once said.
But leave it up to director Steven Spielberg to convince Moreno that she indeed must be in the new movie because he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“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.”
PRODUCER!! OMG! Now we know why Moreno had to rethink her original position of not wanting to be in this movie.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself revisiting this seminal work,” Moreno 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!”
Interestingly enough, it was Kushner that seemed to be Moreno’s biggest hurtle as to being part of this project.
“Tony Kushner, I get nervous,” Moreno told Entertainment Weekly, a couple of months ago. “I get nervous because you can only get just so gritty and then is it the West Side Story we know? Should it be the West Side Story we know? I don’t know. I’m kind of torn about the Kushner aspect of it.”
But a woman is allowed to change her mind. We’re just so thrilled that Moreno will not only be included in this movie, but will have a producer credit as well. Now we’re super excited for this film to be released!