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There’s A Casting Call For A ‘West Side Story’ Remake, And Producers Are Looking For Latino Actors To Star

west side story
Instagram/@brandontreakle, @strangerworldofcoolthings

Steven Spielberg is remaking “West Side Story” and people are flipping out!

It’s been reported that Spielberg is directing a remake of the 1961 musical classic “West Side Story.” Spielberg is apparently keeping very busy these days. The legendary director is also working on directing the fifth installment to the Indiana Jones franchise next year, which is set to be released in 2020, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Aside from directing this new and exciting version of “West Side Story,” Spielberg is full immersed in the casting details for this project as well.

The main reason people are thrilled over this new version is because the main characters must be Spanish-speaking Latinos.

The casting notice clearly indicates that the lead actors must be able to sing and dance, as would be expected. However, the call also says actors must be Spanish-speaking Latinos, as the characters were intended to be.

If you don’t know the film or even the musical it’s based off of, it’s your basic Romeo and Juliet story but instead of Verona  in the 1300s, “West Side Story” is set in Manhattan in the 1950s. It has yet to be revealed if the remake will also take place in that era or in present day.

The main characters are Tony and Maria, a caucasian boy and Puerto Rican girl who fall for each other despite their love being forbidden. There’s also Bernardo, Maria’s big brother and a gang leader who had beautifully choreographed dance fights against the rival gang, the Jets. His girlfriend, Anita, was Maria’s best friend and confidant who could dance up a storm.

As you may recall in the original film, the lead actors were not Puerto Rican except for Rita Moreno, who played Anita.

The white actors who starred in the film wore brown makeup and affected thick, inauthentic accents. The lead role of Maria was played by Natalie Wood, who didn’t actually do any of her own singing for the film.

The casting notice is out and producers are looking for a Tony, Maria, Anita, and Bernardo.

It’s also being reported that the new version of “West Side Story” will include the very talented Lin-Manuel Miranda. In the 2009 Broadway production of “West Side Story,” the song “I Feel Pretty” was altered to be sung in Spanish, with new lyrics translated by Miranda.

It’s clear that studio heads are finally taking notice that people are tired of #OscarsSoWhite and hiring Latinos for major Hollywood roles.

Here’s how people are taking the news on social media.


READ: Latinos Recall The First Time They Felt Represented In Movies And TV

Are you excited about seeing the remake of “West Side Story”? Let us know by sharing this story and commenting below!

Tessa Thompson’s Latest Instagram Is A Tribute To A Girl Who Could Not Wait To Get Her Picture At The ‘MIB’ Premiere

Entertainment

Tessa Thompson’s Latest Instagram Is A Tribute To A Girl Who Could Not Wait To Get Her Picture At The ‘MIB’ Premiere

When the original “Men In Black” premiered in 1997, there’s no denying it was a mega box office hit. In fact, we’re a bit more surprised that it took this long for there to be another installation to the franchise. Now, 22 years later, the new version, fittingly titled, “Men In Black: International” the film is more inclusive, which is certainly appreciated in this day and age.

It’s because of this diverse representation that Latinas can see themselves on the big screen.

Last week, during the “Men In Black” premiere Tessa Thompson spotted a little girl who was dressed just like her in the movie.

Instagram/@tessamaethompson

Thompson recounted the moment on Instagram and discussed how much she’s been through with the filming of the movie and doing press all over the world. She said it was this moment that meant so much to her.

“These past couple weeks have been almost a blur— except, my favorite moment of all— meeting the one person I really made @meninblack for. Hers was the first face I saw when I arrived to the premiere— and it’s still on my mind. And what she said to me, I’ll never forget.”

This moment really signifies why representation matters so much.

Instagram/@tessamaethompson

People seem to forget how many others are excluded when we see a movie or TV show, so when you see a person that looks like you starring in a massive project, it’s an encouraging thing that means to so many. Now we’re wondering what that little girl said to her. Please tell us, Tessa!

Thompson’s role in the new “Men In Black” also came with a couple of changes including something she didn’t want to say just because Will Smith said it in the original.

Instagram/@tessamaethompson

Thompson said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that she didn’t want the new movie to be too much like the old one, which makes sense especially because this is 2019! We don’t need to regress to 1997.

In the original movie, Smith says “I make this look good” after he first puts on his suit. Thompson said she would never say that line.

“I wouldn’t have said it. In fact, I think someone did ask me to — just as an option — and I said no. M [her character] is just different from that character [Agent J/Smith]. Yeah, I was really conscious of too much nostalgia. Also, inside of that, there were moments when I thought, ‘Let’s lean in.'”

Yes!! That is why we need more women of color in movies!

The First Picture From Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ Is Finally Here And I’m Already In Love With Tony

Entertainment

The First Picture From Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ Is Finally Here And I’m Already In Love With Tony

West Side Story: First Image From Steven Spielberg's Musical

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.

The 87-year-old Puerto Rican actress is an executive producer on the film and will also return in a new role as Valentina, a revamped version of Doc, the candy store owner.

The production has already began filming in Harlem, the New York Post reported.

The film marks the first time Spielberg directs a musical and it’s set to be released in theaters Dec. 18, 2020.

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