Rita Moreno is opening up about the exact details surrounding her return to West Side Story. To the surprise of the EGOT, who won an Academy Award for her role as Anita in the 1960s version of the film, a special role was created just for her. During an interview with SiriusXM, the 88-year-old revealed how she landed her part in the upcoming adaptation of the film. “Oh my God. Just the thought that I was invited to be in the movie,” she shared. Rita went on to explain that it was the film’s scriptwriter’s partner who suggested she play a role inspired by one of the film’s original characters.
“Doc was the actor or the man who ran the candy store where both gangs hangout now and then,” she said. “The part was really underwritten, I remember feeling sorry for the actor. Then his [Tony Kushner] partner said ‘why don’t you get Rita Moreno to play Doc’s widow?’ And it turned out that Tony was a huge fan of myself and I didn’t know that.”
The rest, as they say, is history. Rita will play Valentina, the widow of Doc and the new owner of Doc’s. Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story is set to premiere in December 2020. In addition to Rita, cast members include Ansel Elgort (Tony) and newcomer Rachel Zegler (Maria).
Shortly after the announcement of her return to the film, the One Day at a Time star reacted to the news of her role. “Never in my wildest dreams,” she told Parade. “I am tingling.”