Rita Moreno Does Not Want to Be In the New ‘West Side Story’ Film

We are beyond thrilled that there’s going to be a West Side Story remake, directed by Steven Spielberg no less

Photo: Wikimedia/John Ferguson

Photo: Wikimedia/John Ferguson

We are beyond thrilled that there’s going to be a West Side Story remake, directed by Steven Spielberg no less. But when the announcement of the remake first went public, we couldn’t help but wonder if any of the original cast members would be part of this new film.

While lead actress Natalie Wood died long ago, several of the other featured cast are still alive especially our favorite Rita Moreno who played the role of Anita. Last week, a couple of cast mates from the original movie weighed in about whether or not they would be planning a cameo in Spielberg’s version. The group attended an event honoring choreographer Jerome Robbins’ centennial at the Beverly Hills’ Paley Center. Moreno, along with Russ Tamblyn who played Riff, George Chakiris who played Bernardo — Anita’s brother, and Eliot Feld who played Baby John, were all in attendance.

When asked if she wanted to be in the new West Side Story, Moreno — unfortunately for us — said no. “That would be strange,” Moreno told Entertainment Weekly. “I think it would be distracting. No, no, no I don’t belong in there in any capacity.” We beg to differ! It seems one of the reasons Moreno is hesitant to be included in the movie is because of Tony Kushner who will be writing the screenplay. She says that she loves Spielberg, but isn’t sure how Kushner — who won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1993 for his play “Angels in America” — will pan out as screenwriter for this project.

“Tony Kushner, I get nervous,” Moreno told Entertainment Weekly“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.”

Interestingly enough the other cast mates said they’d love to be in the new film. We think Spielberg can convince her to be in the film. Moreno broke so many barriers by playing the role of Anita in the movie that we would love her inclusion in the film so much. We hope she reconsiders.

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