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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These Christmas Movies Will Make Your Season Festive And Bright

Entertainment

These Christmas Movies Will Make Your Season Festive And Bright

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Christmas is here and it is time to get super festive, y’all. One of the best ways to get into the holiday spirit is by watching the movies that will take you to that place. Here are some Latino Christmas movies that will get you feeling all Christmas-y.

“Christmas Bounty”

WWE brings you this love story that follows a woman and her secret. The school teacher (Francia Raisa) is hiding her past as a bounty hunter when she gets pulled back in. Raisa’s character goes back to her hometown and has to work with her ex-boyfriend to catch a bounty that got away.

“This Christmas”

“This Christmas” is a family holiday movie with serious issues. A family’s matriarch assembles her family for the first time in four years. The holiday gathering is filled with stress and drama as strains show within the family. It is a real look at what happens when some families with secrets come together and confrontations happen.

“Holiday In Handcuffs”

This one is so wild it is worth a watch. Melissa Joan Hart plays a woman who is desperate to show her family that she is finally in love. How? Well, she kidnaps a man played by Mario Lopez and takes him to her family’s house for Christmas. We are talking felony kidnapping but it’s all cool because, as you would expect at Christmas, they fall in love.

“Happiest Season”

Hulu’s original movie “Happiest Season” is a lesbian Christmas love song that will melt your heart. Kristen Stewart plays a woman suckered into going to her girlfriend’s parents’ home for Christmas. But the catch is that her girlfriend isn’t out. Aubrey Plaza plays a woman jilted by Stewart’s girlfriend and helps the young woman navigate her way through this family.

“A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas”

Pulse pounding and hilarious. “A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas” is exactly what you would expect from the franchise. Danny Trejo plays Harold’s father-in-law who wants a perfect Christmas, something Harold is determined to make happen. When Kumar gets involved, things go sideways fast and the two friends are left figuring out how to save the holiday.

“Nothing Like The Holidays”

A Puerto Rican family gathers for what might be their last Christmas together. The family tries to make the most of the time together and, as you would expect, lessons are learned and familial bonds are made stronger. There is something so powerful about gathering during the holidays.

READ: We Sit Down With José Feliciano To Discuss the 50th Anniversary of His Christmas Masterpiece, ‘Feliz Navidad’

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Here Are The Shows And Movies We Couldn’t Get Enough Of In 2020

Entertainment

Here Are The Shows And Movies We Couldn’t Get Enough Of In 2020

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This year has been a great time to get intimately acquainted with your apartment and home. It was also a time to get very familiar with what there is to watch on your streaming platforms. Here’s what we spent the year of quarantine binge watching.

“The Queen’s Gambit”

“The Queen’s Gambit” was one of the most popular shows of the year. The limited series was all about chess and a young woman’s journey to become the best in the world. She learns while in an orphanage and eventually starts to become a mastermind of chess. The show has brought a lot of attention to chess and more people than ever are interested in the board game. Anya Taylor-Joy as the main character is one of the best performances of the year.

“The Mandalorian”

“The Mandalorian” is the Star Wars show that everyone can’t stop talking about. Pedro Pascal brings the Latino essence to the show without even knowing it. The Star Wars universe is never-ending and this show proves that the fans will show up whenever there is anything Star Wars.

“Los Espookys”

The HBO series is giving you all of the dry, senseless humor you can stand. It is worth watching the show just to get some much needed laughs after this dumpster fire of a year. Let yourself be lost in the hilarity that is Julio Torres.

“Pose”

Afro-Latino queer ballroom culture takes center stage in the FX original show “Pose.” So much of queer culture is thanks to queer people of color and this show honors them. It is one of the best queer shows to ever hit a streaming platform and will open your eyes to a part of the queer community that is often ignored and overlooked.

“Happiest Season”

Another brilliant queer production, “Happiest Season” is all about lesbian love and coming out of the closet. Aubrey Plaza, while not a leading character, plays an important role in helping Abby and Harper’s relationship move to the next level. Harper is left trying to decide if it is worth coming out to her family during the holidays and the result is everything you hoped for.

“The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia”

“The Expanding Universe of Ashley Garcia” a young robotics genius is living her teenage life with all of the awkward moments you would expect. The show was definitely a sleeper but it makes the list because of the wonderful representation. It isn’t often that you see young Latinas in tech or robotics in media. It’s worth a watch just to fill you with all kinds of good feels.

READ: Netflix Is Bringing Back Seven Classic Black Sitcoms And They’re Already On My Binge List

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