The first photo of the new Steven Spielberg adaptation of “West Side Story” is finally here! Variety has officially released the photo featuring Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler as Tony and Maria and we cannot get enough.
Colombian-American Zegler, 17, and 28-year-old Puerto Rican Broadway star Ariana DeBose, playing Anita, are two Latinas intentionally cast in the lead roles after Spielberg and his team put out a call for Latinx actors.
The cast also features David Alvarez, a Canadian born to Cuban parents as Bernardo, Maria’s brother and the leader of the Sharks and theater actor Josh Andrés Rivera as Chino. The Broadway classic tells the story of two young lovers from rival gangs, the Jets and the Sharks, set in New York in 1957 in the midst of racial tensions.
The photo has Elgort and Zegler front and center, lovingly looking into each other’s eyes while flanked by the Jets and Sharks.
The image teaser features (from left to right) Jets members Anybodys (Ezra Menas), Mouthpiece (Ben Cook), Action (Sean Harrison Jones); Jets leader Riff (Mike Faist); Baby John (Patrick Higgins); Tony (Ansel Elgort) and Maria (Rachel Zegler); Maria’s brother and Sharks leader Bernardo (David Alvarez); and Sharks members Quique (Julius Anthony Rubio), Chago (Ricardo Zayas), Chino (Josh Andrés Rivera), Braulio (Sebastian Serra) and Pipo (Carlos Sánchez Falú).
The iconic Rita Moreno played Anita in the 1961 film version of the 1957 Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim musical for which she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar.
Rita Moreno is one of those legendary forces in the Latinx community that we all hold a special place in our hearts for. She’s the first Latina to be nominated for and to win an Academy Award and she has given life to some of the most memorable characters on film, stage and TV screen.
Now, the talented Boricua will be honored with a documentary all about her fascinating life.
The new PBS documentary will focus on some of Moreno’s most notable life experiences and will also cover some darker and more private aspects of her 87 years.
Twitter / @TalkoftheTownPR
Called “Rita Moreno: The Girl Who Decided to Go for It,” the documentary will feature the actress’ career highlights but will also focus on some rarely discussed moments of her life. For example, in the documentary, Moreno opens up about her attempted suicide that occurred just a year before she won an Oscar for her role as Anita in “West Side Story.”
The Latina shared via a statement just how moved she is to be the focus of this documentary.
“How I wish my Puerto Rican mother were alive to see this: her child’s story being celebrated. It is not something she or I could ever have imagined. I’m astonished. I’m humbled.”
Moreno’s career has really come full circle. While she will continue her role as Lydia in “One Day At a Time,” she is also playing Valentina in the 2019 remake of “West Side Story.”
The documentary is being produced by “Hamilton” star Lin-Manuel Miranda, the acclaimed television producer Norman Lear and documentary filmmaker Michael Kantor.
Twitter / @Lin_Manuel
Needless to say, fellow Puerto Rican, Miranda, is thrilled to be part of a project that immortalizes Moreno.
“Rita is La Reina. Punto. Full stop,” executive producer Miranda expressed in a statement upon the documentary’s announcement. “Her life, talent, and career is a masterclass in the American dream. It is about time that she takes her rightful place amongst her peers on American Masters.”
The Moreno documentary will air in 2020 as part of the PBS American Masters series. According to PBS, it will feature animation, archival recordings, and reenactments from Moreno’s life. Some of the actresses closest friends and co-workers will also provide interviews for the film.
The documentary is being directed by fellow Latina, Mariem Pérez Riera.
Twitter / @DeepFinds
In order to be true to Moreno’s story, it had to be driven by people who understand what the actress has gone through as a woman and as a member of the Latinidad. To do so, director Mariem Pérez Riera was hired to bring her vision to life. Riera has previous experience with heading up documentaries. In 2016, she directed “De Puerto Rico Para el Mundo” and “Croatto, la Huella de un Emigrante.” Both films focus on the Latinidad — a subject close to her heart.
“As a filmmaker, woman and Puerto Rican, I am proud to have the opportunity to tell Rita’s story,” Riera shared when the documentary was announced. “Her many victories in the face of prejudice are an inspiration to me. Hopefully, this film will give strength to the women all over the world, who today, face a similar fight towards equality.”
Of course, Latinx Twitter was quick to celebrate this new documentary and it’s a very deserving subject.
Twitter / @OhCuevas
That dancing baby in this tweet’s GIF? That’s totally us. We are so excited to learn more about one of our favorite Latina actresses. Seeing her get the respect she deserves makes us want to celebrate.
This tweet reminded us just how long Moreno’s career spans.
Twitter / @NewportLaura
Some of us grew up with her as Anita. Some of us know her from the “Electric Company.” Still, others will always know her as the voice of the original Carmen Sandiego. No matter where you know her from, it’s easy to see that her career has been long and lucrative.
Some Twitter users pointed out the importance of illuminating other peoples stories, just as Manuel and other producers are doing with Moreno’s story in this documentary
Twitter / @K_bowes
The only way we will continue to see our stories being told is if we help others in the Latinidad tell theirs. We’re glad to see that Manuel and Riera — fellow Puerto Ricans — have such important roles in making this documentary a reality.
Other Twitter users shared their joy over the celebration of Moreno’s life and legacy.
Twitter / @smiletoobig
Moreno is La Reina and we are so ecstatic that she’s getting the love she so obviously has earned. A career as impressive as hers deserves major props and we can’t wait to watch this documentary honoring her remarkable life.
“One Day at a Time” is back. After strong fan support and a campaign to bring back the acclaimed series, Pop TV has announced that it has picked up the popular series canceled by Netflix earlier this year, for a 13-episode fourth season. According to Vulture, the series is set for a 2020 return and will also air the first three seasons of the show, which will also continue to stream on Netflix.
As well as airing on Pop TV, “One Day at a Time” will run repeats on CBS meaning the show will return to where the original series aired over 40 years ago.
According to Deadline, while some canceled shows have previously been picked up by Netflix, this is the first time a scripted series canceled by the streaming service has found a new home. This is just another example of how transcendent and popular the series has been since it returned back in 2017.
“How amazing it is to be involved with this brilliant and culturally significant series that deals with important themes one minute while making you laugh the next,” Brad Schwartz, Pop TV president, said in a statement. “We couldn’t be more proud to continue telling heartwarming stories of love, inclusion, acceptance, and diversity that pull on your emotions while putting a smile on your face.”
It seemed at some points that the series wasn’t going to make a return but with fan support anything is possible.
When the series was initially canceled back in March, fans and stars of the show were upset. Many credited the show for being one of the lone series with Latino representations on television. Netflix said low viewership numbers were to blame for the canceling but many didn’t buy that.
Fans soon rallied around the show on social media as producers at Sony Television had begun exploring other options for the show. Using the hashtag #SaveODAAT, fans called on a new platform to pick up the critically acclaimed series.
But for the past few months, it was unclear whether the show would ever come back. Today, showrunner Gloria Calderón Kellett broke the news on Twitter and it set off a firestorm of excitement through the fandom.
“WE’RE BACK! Thanks to every fan who made #saveodaat trend worldwide, ONE DAY AT A TIME is heading to POP TV & we couldn’t be more excited! We have many more stories to tell about & we can’t wait to share them with you!
Reaction to the series returning has been met with joy and praise across social media.
There is well-deserved reason to celebrate the return of ODAAT. One of them being the show’s inclusiveness and representation of various characters. It was this reason many felt the show deserved a second chance and now it will get an even bigger platform.
“I still can’t believe Netflix canceled One Day At A Time and fucked over Rita Moreno like of all the people you’re gonna cancel a show on, they had to cancel a living legend? And now a random channel came and saved the day? I’d be straight up embarrassed to be Netflix right now,” one user wrote on Twitter.
ODAAT is only going to grow in popularity now and we can thank it’s loyal fans for supporting and campaigning for its return.
While details of the new season are yet to be released, we do know that Season 4 will see the Cuban-American family dealing with new challenges. This includes Elena entering her senior year of high school, Penelope moving up in her medical career and of course, more of Lydia.
We can hardly wait for the new season already. But at this point, we’re all just happy to see this much-needed series find a new home. We think Rita Morena said it perfectly about the show’s return.
“SAVEODAAT is old news…#MoreODAAT is more like it!! Thank you @PopTV #ODAAT @OneDayAtATime we’re backkkk!”