Entertainment

Meet Rachel Zegler, The Teen Latina Who Just Scored The Lead In Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ Remake

More than 30,000 women auditioned for the role of Maria in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming remake of “West Side Story.” The casting directors held auditions in Puerto Rico, just to be sure they looked at everyone that would be perfect for this coveted part. Rachel Zegler, a 17-year-old New Jersey high school student, was one of those who auditioned and she nailed it. While her name might not be familiar, the teenager has a long history of performing on stage, just not the professional one.

“When I played Maria on stage a few summers ago, I never could have imagined that I’d be taking on the role again in Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story,'” Zegler wrote on Instagram. “I send a huge thank you to everyone who helped make this incredible dream a reality — I never could’ve done it alone. I am so honored to join the legendary Rita Moreno, Ansel Elgort, Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, and Josh Andrés Rivera. 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.”

So who is this talented beauty? Here’s how Zegler got the role of a lifetime, and some pivotal moments that lead up to it. 

The 17-year-old high school senior from New Jersey went viral last month after she posted a video of herself singing “Shallow” from “A Star Is Born.”

Twitter/@rachelzegler

This isn’t how she won the role of Maria, but it certainly didn’t hurt because everyone heard her incredible voice. Film producers, including the director, saw her audition which included two songs from “West Side Story,” “Tonight” and “Me Siento Hermosa” (“I Feel Pretty”).

She is humbled and thrilled to play the part of Maria because it represents so much.

Instagram/@rachelzegler

“I am so thrilled to be playing the iconic role of Maria alongside this amazing cast,” Zegler told The Hollywood Reporter. “‘West Side Story’ was the first musical I encountered with a Latina lead character. As a Colombian-American, I am humbled by the opportunity to play a role that means so much to the Hispanic community.”

The big casting announcement also included the names of three other Latinos tapped for lead roles.

Instagram/@bwayblurbs

Ariana DeBose will play Anita, David Alvarez will be Bernardo, and Josh Andrés Rivera will be Chino.

We’re really excited to see the chemistry between her and leading actor Ansel Elgort, who will play Tony.

Instagram/@baldepipoca

You may remember Elgort from his films “Baby Driver,” “Divergent,” and “The Fault in Our Stars.”

She has played countless roles at her school including Ariel from “The Little Mermaid.”

Instagram/@rachelzegler

Zegler said playing Ariel was a blessing and she looks absolutely adorable in the role.

She’s also portrayed the lead in “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

Instagram/@rachelzegler

She’s a true professional, even though she’s still in high school. There is no denying that Zegler is meant to be on stage and in front of the camera. She can sing, dance, and act.

She is a theater junky who can’t get enough of Broadway.

Instagram/@rachelzegler

Her social media is filled with singing videos, and portraits like this one above, in which she goes on and on about her life as a performer. She captioned this picture with: “what to expect if you go on vacation with a theatre person.”

Do you think she has what it takes to portray the new Maria?

Instagram/@scorpiolgy

While Natalie Wood did a good job in the role, people are over the moon that there will be a Latina playing the role of Maria. Spielberg made it clear that when they were casting they wanted to make sure to include Latino talent in the Latino roles for authenticity.

Her family is supportive of her ambitions.

Instagram/@jacinblack

In a recent post, Zegler thanked her mom for all of her support. “These past few months have been absolutely insane and there’s no one I’d rather have by my side through it all,” she posted. “I love you most, mom. always.”

Her sister is a singer too.

Some of her favorite actors and singers are praising Zegler’s casting and her voice.

Instagram/@rachelzegler

Within 24 hours of the news that Zegler was cast as Maria, a ton of Broadway celebs reached out to her congratulating her over the casting. She was clearly ecstatic. Talk about a life-changing moment.

Zegler’s acting abilities are also versatile.

Instagram/@rachelzegler

Here she is giving us her best Robert Downey Jr. Pretty solid reproduction of the actor’s facial hair.

Her social media is filled with videos of herself singing on camera.

Instagram/@rachelzegler

She sings in the bathroom, empty theaters, her room, just about anywhere. No matter where she is singing, one thing is clear, the girl has talent. No wonder she was cast to play Maria.

But if you’re curious about her incredible voice, just visit her YouTube page.

Youtube

It’s insanely good! She sings just about every song you can think of. Her covers give the songs new life and her voice is truly worthy of adding to one of the most iconic musicals of all time.

Her favorite though has to be Freddie Mercury.

Twitter

Her YouTube page features so amazing renditions of Queen songs from “Bohemian Rhapsody” to “Don’t Stop Me Now.” They are all worth a listen if you have the time.

See…everything she does is for Freddie.

Instagram/@zeglertweets

Yes, she plays the piano too. And the ukulele. Who knows where her career in entertainment will take her. Her talent seems endless right now and that is just part of that Latina excellence.

She also loves Disney-everything.

Instagram/@rachelzegler

Disney World is one of her favorite places on the planet. Then again, who doesn’t love to visit a Disney park and spend the day eating great food and riding every ride you can.

Zegler isn’t just good at singing and acting. She definitely will be modeling in no time.

Instagram/@rachelzegler

She’s so photogenic…simply gorgeous. Designers are probably already waiting for the chance to dress her.

She’s also already a huge influencer.

Instagram/@dresslikebway

Less than 24 hours since news broke that she would be playing Maria, people have been flocking to her social media, and her fashion sense is already popular.

Of course, people have already started creating fan pages for the new entertainer.

Instagram

People move fast. That’s the magic of the internet, right?

Zegler has been training for this moment since she was a little girl!

Instagram/@rachelzegler

She was literally born to be a star. “West Side Story” is set to begin filming this summer. We couldn’t be happier for Zegler. It is stories like this that keep smiles on people’s faces as they navigate this world. Good luck, chica! You’re going to be great. In the meantime, follow her on social and get to know her before she really blows up.


READ: One Rumor On Twitter Has The Internet Debating If Camila Cabello Can Act Well Enough To Be In ‘West Side Story’

Share this story with all of your friends by tapping that little share button below!

Amazon Prime Will Debut Mexican-Made ‘Narcos Vs Zombies’ Series

Entertainment

Amazon Prime Will Debut Mexican-Made ‘Narcos Vs Zombies’ Series

@NALIP_ORG / Twitter

Amazon has officially become home to post-apocalyptic horror series “Narcos vs Zombies,” which will be entirely created, written, and produced in Mexico. The action-drama series will even star actors from “Narcos: Mexico,” and will showcase the resiliency of narco-culture long after zombies have taken over the planet. The drama will unfold at the U.S.-Mexico border after the U.S. military performs shady experiments on its wounded soldiers, who become the original source of a booming zombie population. Soon, Mexican SWAT teams fall victim to the zombie virus and the U.S. Army dedicates its attention to eradicating the zombified SWAT team across the border.

The Spanish-language series confirms what we all already know: Mexico deserves its own zombie apocalypse content, and Amazon Prime is making it happen in 2020.

We’ll witness the zombie apocalypse unfold through the lens of a Mexican drug lord.

CREDIT: @NALIP_ORG / TWITTER

Sergio Peris-Mencheta, known for his role in “Snowfall” and “Rambo: Last Blood,” will play the untouchable kingpin Alonso Marroquín, whose life changes forever during a prison escape. Accompanied by his son, Lucas, played by Nery Arredondo of “Vuelven,” Alonso breaks out of a high-security Mexican prison and goes into hiding on the U.S. side of the border. The dangerous father-son duo finds themselves taking shelter at a drug rehabilitation facility ironically called Paradiso, without knowing Zombie Apocalypse Ground Zero would develop not too far from there. 

The premise of the plot is only moderately scathing of U.S.-Mexico relations, and it starts with how the United States treats its wounded soldiers. The story goes that the U.S. decided to conduct military experiments on its wounded soldiers, in the hopes that it would turn them into killing machines. When the experiment fails, the U.S. Army leaves its soldiers for dead near the border. The experiment, of course, takes hold as the soldiers do become killing machines, but they won’t take orders from the U.S. Army.

As a Mexican SWAT team leads a search to find the escaped Marroquíns, they stumble upon the mutant zombie soldiers and fall prey to the zombie virus, leaving the Marroquíns in the middle of what will become a U.S.-Mexico zombie war.  “The series is a lot of fun, action-packed and features amazing VFX, but it will also likely ruffle some feathers as it deals with several important – and controversial – current affairs,” Nicolas Entel, series showrunner and founding partner of Red Creek Productions, said in a press release.

Creator of the Pablo Escobar documentary, “Sins of My Father,” Nicolas Entel will be the series showrunner.

CREDIT: @BUENASENFISH /TWITTER

“We are always looking to bring new kinds of premium content to our Prime members, therefore we are very excited about this new and innovative series that will surely be loved by fans of a variety of genres,” head of Amazon Prime Video’s Mexico Originals, Javier Szerman, told Variety, adding, “The story of ‘Narcos vs Zombies’ is something that hasn’t been done at this scale in Latin America.”

Argentine Nicolas Entel has been named the series’ showrunner, and given his success with “Pecados De Mi Padre” (“Sins of My Father”), “Narcos vs Zombies” is slated to be very well-received. “Pecados De Mi Padre” is a documentary about Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, as told through the lens of his only son, and the sons of Escobar’s most famous fatal victims. Acclaimed director Rigoberto Castañeda (“Diablero”, “Hasta Que Te Concocí”)  will bring the series to life and Miguel Tejada Flores (“Screamers”, “Beyond Re-Animator”) will write the series.

So far, Latino reception has been mixed.

CREDIT: @ROSE20143521415 / TWITTER

What kind of Televisa is this? First the Derbez series and then this. They are on a very good road @PrimeVideoMX. NOOOOOOOOOOT!” tweeted Alejandro Gómez (@AliasChiri). “Just what we need, another series of narcos,” added Mario Franco (@lccmariofranco).

The first season is expected to be eight, high-production-value episodes, and is produced by Dynamo (“Narcos” and “El Chapo”) and Red Creek Productions (“Sins of My Father”). The series will premiere to more than 200 countries worldwide, and is expected to rivet Latin-American audiences.

For all of us at Dynamo it has been an incredible experience to produce this unique original series for Prime Video in Latin America,” Andrés Calderón, CEO of Dynamo said in a press release. “The level of complexity in the production of this series added with the blending of genres will bring audiences a story which they have never before seen.”

READ: ‘Narcos: Mexico’ Is Back For A Second Season: Here’s Everything We Know So Far

We Know It’s Hard To Keep Up, So We Rounded Up The Best Celebrity Beef Of The Year For You

Entertainment

We Know It’s Hard To Keep Up, So We Rounded Up The Best Celebrity Beef Of The Year For You

@billboard / Twitter

If there is something we can always count on from show biz, it’s stars fighting other stars. As 2019 comes to an end, we’re looking back at the year in celebrity beef. It can be hard to keep track of celebrities who hate each other and why, but this list of 2019 celeb feuds will keep you informed on the latest celebrity rivalries and disputes.

Kevin Fret’s Mom vs. Ozuna

Instagram @ozuna

After the Puerto Rican Trap artist Kevin Fret died, his mom accused Ozuna of being involved in the artist’s homicide. Ozuna filed a complaint with the FBI alleging that late queer trapero Kevin Fret was blackmailing the Aura singer over the video. Ozuna confirmed his appearance in the video through a statement released by his manager Vincente Saavedra, and said that he was underage in the video and that it was “an error from the past.”Ozuna was interrogated by the authorities, but according to the police, he was not implicated in any criminal activities. 

Maluma vs. J Balvin

@maluma

The two reggaeton giants have been surrounded by rivalry rumours for years, and they had further enforced them by never working or appearing together. This year, they fired shots at each other in their joint music video for the collab track ‘Qué pena’. In the slick new music video, Maluma and Balvin take turns imitating each others’ Instagram personas: Maluma shouts into his phone, “This is for the culture man! Para la cultura!” Meanwhile, Balvin smooches himself in the mirror and purrs, “Maluma, baby. Mamacita.” So I guess, the air is clear now. There’s no conflict between them anymore, all is good in the universe.

Anuel AA & Bad Bunny Vs. Maluma

View this post on Instagram

GAN-GA 👹 @bryanttmyers

A post shared by “REAL HASTA LA MUERTE” (@anuel_2blea) on

Anuel AA teased at a new song on his Instagram. He talked about the ice on his neck, his enemies and his squad, and went on to rap “Nunca flow Maluma, siempre real G.” Bad Bunny, on his part, is a fan of the line, and he took to twitter to share it.

Bryant Myers vs. Anuel AA

In an Insta Live in April, Bryant Myers challenged Anuel to a fight after the Real Hasta La Muerte brand porter insulted him in his single “Fulete.” “Pero, papi, tu no respetas a nadie, cabrón,” Myers responded.

Reggaetoneros vs. Grammy Latino

@nickyjam

Daddy Yankee, J Balvin, and a number of other famous Latin music artists announced their boycott of the 2019 Latin Grammy Awards due to whitewashing.The boycott was a response to the absence of Reggaeton musicians from the list of nominees for the show’s 10 primary award categories, despite the genre’s monumental rise to global popularity over the decade. 

Don Omar vs. Ozuna

instagram @donomar

Earlier this year, Don Omar took advantage of rumors that were swirling about a sex tape featuring Ozuna by launching some indirect homophobic slurs towards the Aura singer, who is a longtime rival. Don Omar’s initial comments on Tuesday inspired a backlash that even included Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, as well as Bad Bunny. Yesterday, the rey de reggaeton posted a message on both Instagram and Twitter. “Lunch break? Any of you eat ?? Not me,” a reference to the anti-gay slur “pato.” Don Omar also shared a video of a duck humping a teddy bear in his Instagram stories; fans immediately identified both comments as homophobic references to Ozuna, since the Aura singer’s logo is also a teddy bear.

Hailey Bieber vs. Selena Gomez

instagram @selenagomez

Soon after Gomez’s song “Lose You To Love Me” first dropped, Baldwin posted the song “I’ll Kill You” by Summer Walker to her Instagram Story. Fans speculated that Hailey was throwing shade at Selena, but Baldwin quickly shot down the speculation and called it “BS.” 

Nicki Minaj Vs. Cardi B 

instagram @nickiminaj

While Cardi has been trying her best to move past her ongoing beef with Nicki Minaj, the “MEGATRON” rapper didn’t have a problem adding more fuel to the fire. After sharing went down between herself, Cardi, and the Migos back in 2017, Minaj went on to open up about her “authentic come-up,” saying she relied solely on her talent in order to make it in the industry.

“I still had to go through these things because of people like you who made a sport out of tearing down a young, black woman who’s done nothing but come in this game with an authentic come-up, writing raps, and doing what the f**kin’ was really necessary,” she said. “No Instagram, no reality shows, no sucking DJs’ d*cks.”

Bella Thorne vs. Whoopie Goldberg

instagram @bellathorne

After a hacker threatened to release her nude photos, Bella Thorne took matters into her own hands and released them herself. However, when The View spoke about the situation a few days later, Whoopi Goldberg didn’t seem to think the 21-year-old’s actions were quite as brave and strong as the others, who lauded her and shamed the hacker for trying to extort Bella Thorne.

“Listen, if you’re famous, I don’t care how old you are, you don’t take nude pictures of yourself.” Whoopi Goldberg said, seemingly blaming the actress for getting hacked.

But Bella Thorne was not about to take that sitting down. She took to her Instagram stories and first wrote a long note about how “displeased and saddened” she was by Whoopi Goldberg’s stance, before announcing she would be canceling her scheduled appearance on The View, because she didn’t feel like “being beaten down by a bunch of older women.”

Demi Lovato vs. Taylor Swift

instagram @demilovato

If there is one person who is tired of all the non-drama drama, it’s Demi herself, who took to Instagram on Monday morning to set the record straight once and for all. “Life’s too short for women not to support other women,” she wrote. “Especially when women release great music. Great job Taylor Swift.” She accompanied that peace treaty with a screenshot of her phone, showing her playing Taylor’s song “Cruel Summer” from her new album, “Lover,” calling it “a jam.” Swift later took to Instagram herself re-sharing Lovato’s message to her Instagram story and saying, “This is so awesome & put the biggest smile on my face.”

“Thank you Demi Lovato,” she added.

Khloe Kardashian vs. Jordyn Woods

Perhaps the biggest feud of the year kicked off back in February! That’s when it was revealed that Khloe Kardashian‘s boyfriend, NBA star Tristan Thompson, cheated on her (again), this time with someone very close to the family — sister Kylie Jenner’s best friend, Jordyn Woods. The affair ended not only Khloe’s romantic relationship with the father of her child , but effectively finished off Jordyn’s previously tight-knit relationship with the whole Kardashian-Jenner clan.

Princess Nokia vs. Kali Uchis

instagram @kaliuchis

The internet dug up the receipts pertaining to Nokia’s “Orange Blossom” song, a 2015 track that bears more than a passing resemblance to Kali Uchis’ 2013 “Honey Baby.” Nokia had previously deleted the “Orange Blossom” video entirely, but someone re-uploaded it with an alternative title if you want to catch the clip.