16 January, 2019
'West Side Story was the first musical I encountered with a Latina lead character. (The Jets are the other.) According to Deadline, Zegler first saw the casting call notice in January 2018, and submitted a video of her singing two songs from the show: "Tonight" and "Me Siento Hermosa" ("I Feel Pretty").
"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 said.
Keep reading to see a video of her absolutely slaying a cover of "Shallow", the Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper song from last year's A Star is Born.
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Moreno will play Valentina in Spielberg's film - once again a retelling of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, set in NY and centred on rival gangs The Jets and the Sharks.
Steven Spielberg's West Side Story cast is slowly beginning to come into focus.
"As a colombian-american woman growing up in this day and age, strong roles like maria are so important.to be able to bring that role to life- a role that means so much to the hispanic community- is so humbling. i hope you're all as excited as i am".
"I send a huge thank you to everyone who helped make this incredible dream a reality - I never could've done it alone", she continued, calling out the cast members whom she is "so honored" to work alongside "in telling this impeccably poignant story".
"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 was quoted as saying in U.S. media. Moreno will also be an executive producer of the film, reports Deadline. "West Side Story" won 10 Oscars, including best picture.
Natalie Wood, who played Maria in the film, was of Russian descent.