Entertainment

Steven Spielberg Officially Wraps Filming ‘West Side Story’ Remake Starring Rachel Zegler, Rita Moreno, And Maddie Ziegler

Steven Spielberg has kept Latin Americans on their toes throughout the summer with news and sneak peeks of his production for ‘West Side Story.’ Now, as a close to the summer, he has officially announced that the film has wrapped!

The latest update from the set of Steven Spielberg’s remake of the award-winning classic rings in a new chapter for the film. The next stages will including editing, a film release and hopefully, a diverse and culturally accurate film that does it better than the first one ever did.

To celebrate the film’s potential 20th Century Fox’s official Twitter account shared photos from the set.

Aspects of “West Side Story” might not have aged well in the almost 60 years since its debut, but there’s no denying the beloved film’s position in the classic movie canon. It’s why, when talks of a “West Side Story” remake by Steven Spielberg began to occur last summer, fans of the original film helmed by directors Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins and starring actresses Natalie Wood and Rita Moreno, fans of the original film proved to be less than thrilled. Reasons for the knee-jerk objections to the remake ran the gamut with many of them stemming from fears that a white director like Spielberg being incapable of properly addressing the problems of the original film which included brownface and a mass of shameful Latino stereotypes. This week, after production for the film, announced the actors for the main cast of the film, fans of the 1961 film are resting a bit easier.

Earlier this year, production for the remake announced that after auditioning over 30K actors from across the globe, they have officially filled out their main cast and fans are not feeling let down.

United Artists

The original adaptation of the hit Broadway musical, the Romeo-and-Juliet-like story tells of the star-crossed love between Tony, a former member of the white gang known as the Jets, and Maria, the younger sister of the leader of a Puerto Rican gang. Oscar-nominated screenwriter and Pulitzer Prize-winner Tony Kushner has written the adaptation of the musical originally penned by Arthur Laurents and Stephen Sondheim with music by Leonard Bernstein.

Spielberg and his team have shown to a commitment to filling out a strong and authentic cast worthy of the adaptation by searching for their actors within the Puerto Rican and extended Latinx community. Doing their due diligence for the film, Speilberg, and writers from the film reportedly met with professors and students from Universidad de Puerto Rico – Río Piedras to garner a better understanding of performing arts on the island. They have also kept an open door of communication with Hispanic heritage and advocacy groups who have helped the filmmakers behind the remake with conducting research in regards to the Latino characters of the film and their storylines.

Speaking to Deadline about his approach to casting and researching the film, Spielberg said that “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. I’m so happy that we’ve assembled a cast that reflects the astonishing depth of talent in America’s multifaceted Hispanic community… I am in awe of the sheer force of the talent of these young performers, and I believe they’ll bring a new and electrifying energy to a magnificent musical that’s more relevant than ever.”

Newcomer Rachel Zegler is set to play star-crossed lover Maria.

rachelzegler / Instagram

Rachel Zegler is a high school student who responded to the production’s opening casting call for actors with a video of herself singing “Tonight” and “Me Siento Hermosa.” The 17-year-old has built a dedicated following on Youtube and Twitter in recent years, showing off her musical chops to her fans on the platforms.

Zegler recently caught the attention of the internet when she shared a viral video of her showing off her pipes.

Zegler sang a rendition of “Shallow” from the Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper film “A Star Is Born.”

It’s not the first time Zegler will play Maria forever.

No doubt, Zegler’s upcoming role will garner her far more attention than this internet hit.

Broadway veteran Ariana DeBose will fill the shoes of Rita Moreno in the iconic role of Anita.

arianadebose / Instagram

The casting of 27-year-old Ariana DeBose is sure to increase excitement over the remake. Not only is the American actress, singer, and dancer of Puerto Rican-descent starred in the off-Broadway ensemble of Hamilton back in 2015 and in 2018 she received a Tony Award nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical for her role as  Disco Donna in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. 

Also joining the film’s ensemble are David Alvarez as Bernardo and Josh Andrés Rivera has Chino.


Read: Remembering Miranda Sanchez On The 18th Anniversary Of ‘Lizzie McGuire’

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Here Are 8 Latino Christmas Movies You Should Watch To Get Into The Festive Season

Entertainment

Here Are 8 Latino Christmas Movies You Should Watch To Get Into The Festive Season

Crown Media

This Christmas, when you’re getting comfy on the couch, ready to turn on the TV and watch a Holiday film, one thing is certain: we all know what the leads will look like. It’s safe to assume that the actors of most Christmas movies are white. 

Christmas and the whole holiday season is an important time of year for Latinos, traditionally and culturally, so it’s exciting to see Latinos on screen portraying our seasonal conflicts, rituals and family dynamics whenever the opportunity arises —which is not very often tbh.

When it comes to African American and Asian romantic leads in Hallmark holiday movies, the number is zero.

According to the numbers. By the end of 2017, Hallmark premiered a combined 86 new movies on two of its networks, Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. Only six of those movies had non-white romantic leads. That same year, Hallmark debuted three films with Catherine Bell (“Good Witch: Spellbound,” “Home for Christmas Day” and “Christmas in the Air”), who is half Iranian; one movie with Julie Gonzalo (“Falling for Vermont”), who’s from Argentina; and two movies with Alexa PenaVega (“Destination Wedding”), one of which also starred her husband Carlos PenaVega (“Enchanted Christmas”), both of whom are Hispanic.

While there obviously needs to be more seasonal films where Latinos take the lead, there are a number of films that Latinxs can watch to see themselves represented on screen. Keep scrolling to read all about them, here are some of our faves. 

Christmas Bounty

Starring Francia Raisa, this film is all about a bounty hunter-turned-elementary shool teacher who tries to keep her past a secret. Shenanigans follow as Raisa’s character reluctantly returns home for the holiday season. 

Nothing Like The Holidays

Credit: deswest_mac / Instagram

The dysfunctional Puerto Rican Rodriguez family reunite and fight for the first time in years in Alfredo De Villa’s Nothing Like the Holidays.  John Leguizamo, Freddy Rodriguez, Elizabeth Peña, Luis Guzmán, Jay Hernandez and Melonie Diaz appear as the Rodriguezs, gathering for Christmas in their family home in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood. 

¡Feliz Christmas, Merry Navidad!

Spanish-language ¡Feliz Christmas, Merry Navidad! directed by Luis Palomo, stars Tere López-Tarín, Carlos Soriano, and Angelina Cruz. The family-friendly magical-realistic holiday film tells the tale of three children who overcome differences in the interest of friendship.  The inspiration Christmas movie exposes the true meaning of Christmas, and the value of interpersonal relationships and family.

El Camino Christmas

Credit: kambizshayanfard / Instagram

Starring Jessica Alba and Emilio Rivera —better known for his role on Sons of Anarchy—this comedy will make you LOL. The story of a man who’s in search for his father and then gets stuck in a liquor store on Christmas eve, has at least a little bit of diversity in it, so why not give it a go?

This Christmas 

Laz Alonso and Lupe Ontiveros star in the African American holiday comedy-drama This Christmas, a film about the Whitfield family. The estranged family gathers under the same roof for the first time in seven years, and the attempt to rekindle broken relationships.

A Very Harold And Kumar Christmas 

This is one of the most diverse Christmas movies out there. It includes a few Latinx stars in it —Danny Trejo and the Colombian-American actress Paula Garces. The movie is about Kumar and Harold’s holiday adventures and, let’s just say there’s lots of cannabis involved. 

Esta Navidad

The 1959 film is somewhat of a cult classic. Directed by Rene Cardoso, the Mexican film is about the Devil’s evil plan to kill Santa Claus. The surreal film is set in Santa’s cloud castle as well as in Mexico City. It’s not a traditional film, but definitely worth seeing. 

Holiday in Handcuffs

Mario Lopez and Melissa Joan Hart star in Holiday in Handcuffs, a holiday film about a miserable and lonely waitress and aspiring painter who kidnaps a customer from her job, so that she can introduce him to her family as her boyfriend. Mario Lopez plays the kidnapped fake boyfriend —and I mean, if I had the chance to kidnap Mario Lopez, you best believe I would.

The Past Decade Has Definitely Been A Reboot Era: Here Are The Decade’s Best—And Worst—Reboots

Entertainment

The Past Decade Has Definitely Been A Reboot Era: Here Are The Decade’s Best—And Worst—Reboots

Sony Pictures Releasing

With 2019 narrowly coming to an end, we’re getting ready to say goodbye to a decade. The 2010s have been a nostalgic ride. From the return of 80s “mom jeans” and Seinfeld-esque fashion trends to the revival of 90s music, fashion, beauty, and cinema. Whether we were discussing the return of crop tops, or boy bands, the decade looked back on the 90s with a vengeance —and Hollywood led the nostalgia train. 

Some of these reboots were hits, some were most definitely misses.

90s remakes and reboots dominated the box office in the past 10 years —and there are only more to come (e.g. Jumanji, Cats, Sonic, Mulan, Top Gun… the list goes on). So, as we bid the 2010s goodbye, join us in looking back at the best and worst remakes and reboots from the bast decade. 

Maleficent 2014 and 2019

Instagram @maleficentxcrystal

Although the Angelina Jolie-led fairytale about the “Sleeping Beauty” villain didn’t impress critics, who gave the film only a 40% on Rotten Tomatoes, audiences loved it. Reviewers praised the film’s visuals and special effects as well as its overall storyline.

Spider-Man far from home

Instagram @spidermanmovie

Not a 5 year period goes by without a studio picking up another Spider-Man remake project. And 90s children are happy to watch each and every one of them. On this occasion we went back to Peter Parker’s teenage years and even though it wasn’t the best remake of the spidey franchise, he went as far as to make an appearance alongside Thor, Iron Man and Black Panther in Avengers.

Aladdin

Instagram @disneyaladdin

I for one can confirm that the live-action remake was a masterful attempt at adapting the 90s children’s classic. From the diverse casting to the musical adaptations, special effects and Will Smith’s epic genie; 2019 Aladdin was a total hit. 

Jurassic World

Instagram @jurassicworld

The 2015 film, successfully rebooted the early 1990s franchise. The reboot of 1993’s Jurassic Park cemented Chris Pratt as a bonafide movie star —and there’s already a sequel in the works.

Beauty and The Beast

Instagram @beautyandthebeast

Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast pleased, even the most demanding fans. The remake, starring Emma Watson and Dan Stevens was a super faithful adaptation of the 1991 classic. This remake though, set a very high bar for all the Disney live action adaptations that followed. 

Power Rangers

Instagram @powerrangersmovie

The iconic TV superheroes of the 90s got their own reboot this decade, but the film received mixed reviews. Fans of the original series responded positively, but the film came second at the box office —only after another 90s staple, Beauty and the Beast.

Men In Black: International

Instagram @meninblack

The galaxy defenders made a comeback this decade, and despite Chris Hemsworth’s endless charisma, cameos from Emma Thompson and Bill Hader, Men In Black: International still wasn’t a huge success. 

Ghostbusters

twitter @eranuestro

The reboot of this 80s cult classic angered the male masses. Apparently, women who bust ghosts are somehow unacceptable. This film sparked outrage online and the trailer on youtube, as well as it’s IMDB page got record breaking negative reviews. Effectively redoing the original movie with the genders flipped smacked of political correctness and revisionist history. Or at least, that seemed to be the argument.

Terminator Genisys

Instagram @terminator.genisys.fan

The 80s and 90s reboot was a total flop. Despite Arnold Schwarzenegger’s return to the Terminator franchise, the film still tanked. 

Blair Witch

Instagram @blairwitchmovie

The Blair Witch Project was a 90s cult favorite. The reboot featured man of the same plot points and managed to recapture the magic of the 1999 classic. However, now that everyone knows that The Blair Witch Project was definitely not a documentary, the franchise lost its edge.

Independence day resurgence

Twitter @robzchildren

Not even Jeff Goldblum was able to save this Independence day —at least not without Will Smith, that is. 

Dumb and Dumber To

Instagram @jimcarey_

Jim Carey and Jeff Daniels reprised their roles as Dumb & Dumber, 20 years later! Unfortunately, the reboot failed to impress the public, and not even the most diehard super fans were on board. Only time will tell whether or not the film develops the same cult following as the original did. 

The Karate Kid

Instagram @thekaratekidmovie

Ok so first of all, the “Karate” kid learned Kung Fu in the 2010 version, not Karate as the title —and the original 1984 film— implies. 

The Mummy

Instagram @themummy

The original franchise was a thrilling, fun adventure film with lots of references to Indiana Jones. The 2017 remake, however, was a paint-by-numbers exercise designed only to set up a new shared universe. 

Teenage Ninja Turtles

Instagram @tmnt_2014

So for all of us who grew up in the 90s watching The Ninja Turtles, the show was all about martial arts and personal growth. All the 2014 remake focused on was exaggerated CGI —I mean those muscles, really? They’re turtles after all— and epic destruction scenes.