Entertainment

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

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!

SNL Did A Segment On How The Big Oscar Nominated Films Are About White Male Rage And It’s Surprisingly Spot On

Entertainment

SNL Did A Segment On How The Big Oscar Nominated Films Are About White Male Rage And It’s Surprisingly Spot On

Saturday Night Live / YouTube

Saturday Night Live’s Melissa Villaseñor enraged white males by singing a song about white male rage on the show. With the Oscars around the corner, SNL offered its own little analysis of the nominees during their ‘Weekend Update’ segment. In the skit Villaseñor discusses the biggest Oscar nominees and sings songs about how all the plots are based around, or sparked by (you guessed it) while male rage —and tbh, it’s kind of on point.

Villaseñor was brought on to discuss the big Oscar nominees and began by singing a song about Todd Phillips’ Joker.

In a visit to Colin Jost’s Weekend Update desk, cast member Melissa Villaseñor educated Jost on the Best Picture nominees, singing a silly and kind of accurate song about “Joker” and “The Irishman.” The song started off simply outlining the plot of the film until it took a turn; “But the thing that this movie is really about is white male rage, white male rage, white male rage.” The comedian then proceeded to sing a ditty about The Irishman and the tune ended with the observation that, in fact, the picture is also, actually all about white male rage.

Jost plays the straight man who disagrees.

Playing the straight man, Jost said of Villaseñor’s song: “It seemed like it was just a description of the movie, and then it took a weird turn into social commentary.” You can guess what happens when she moves onto Martin Scorsese’s Netflix masterpiece “The Irishman.”

When Jost asked how many more songs there were, Villaseñor said she had “a whole bunch”…

But said she would “combine them all,” rattling through nominated films that shared the narrative of “white male rage” such as “Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood,” “Jojo Rabbit” and “1917” — while adding that “Little Women” director Greta Gerwig, whose film was not about “white male rage,” was snubbed for a best director nomination.

#WhiteMaleRage became a trending topic on Twitter.

The words, which were written by Villaseñor and SNL writers Dan Bulla and Steven Castillostruck a chord on Twitter, where the #WhiteMaleRage hashtag began trending and had over 14,000 tweets by Sunday afternoon.

As you might have predicted, the white men of the internet reacted, well, angrily.

As they tend to do, white men were busy being upset about people pointing out the obvious. #WhiteMaleRage wasn’t a suggestion up for debate. It was merely a fact. Take a look at the Oscar noms for Best Picture this year and tell us Melissa is wrong?

The irony was clearly lost on these people.

But some just couldn’t let go…

Other Twitter users found the skit pretty funny, and even agreed with the message.

This isn’t the first skit or celebrity to talk about the issues the Oscars continue to face. Just two years ago #OscarsSoWhite was trending across social media and it seems like the Academy has totally forgotten that controversy this year.

This tweet perfectly summed up what many were thinking…

Airing on January 25, last week’s “Saturday Night Live” was the 11th episode of the NBC sketch show’s 45th season. Oscar nominee Adam Driver was the host with the musical performance by Halsey. (Driver is nominated for Best Actor for his turn as a father fighting for custody of his son during a contentious divorce in Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story.”)

Mattel Just Dropped A Barbie With Vitiligo And Another With Alopecia And This Has Me Tearing Up Y’all

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Mattel Just Dropped A Barbie With Vitiligo And Another With Alopecia And This Has Me Tearing Up Y’all

Mattel / Twitter

The maker of the iconic Barbie doll just announced the launch of a lineup of diverse dolls featuring new skin tones, wheelchairs, and body types. The latest Barbie additions are a doll with the skin condition Vitiligo and another with a gold prosthetic leg —and we’re here for all this diversity. 

“More skin tones! More body types! More unique looks” read the caption.

The new Barbie pals doll be part of the Fashionistas collection and it’s being labeled as the American toy company’s most diverse line.

“What makes us different, makes us beautiful”

The line features dolls with vitiligo, no hair, darker skin tones, in a wheelchair and a wide range of body types. These dolls are part of Barbie’s 2020 releases for its Fashionistas line, which, over the past five years, has introduced more than 170 looks showcasing different identities around the world in hopes of representing global diversity and inclusivity, according to a press release from Mattel. 

Mattel launched a new Barbie doll with the condition vitiligo, which causes pigmentation loss in the skin. 

To create the doll with vitiligo, Barbie worked with a dermatologist to ensure the condition was accurately portrayed. Viitiligo causes patches of skin to lose their pigment. Mattel said in a statement that a prototype of the vitiligo toy, which debuted on the Barbie Instagram page last year, became its most “liked” post ever.

Speaking of the Barbie with no hair, the company said:

“If a girl is experiencing hair loss for any reason, she can see herself reflected in the line.”

Last year, a doll with a prosthetic leg and another with a wheelchair joined the Fashionistas range. 

The then 12-year-old Jordan Reeves, who co-founded the nonprofit Born Just Right — which develops “creative solutions that help kids with disabilities live a more enjoyable life” — helped inspire a doll with a prosthetic limb. Barbie’s 2019 Fashionistas line was also the first time it included a doll that uses a wheelchair.  Other dolls in the 2019 Fashionistas line offered a variety of appearances, including braided hair texture and more realistic body types (smaller bust, less defined waist and more defined arms).

On Twitter people are happy about the new dolls.

Some are excited to see themselves reflected in Barbie form for the first time. “Heeeyy! That’s pretty sweet. I’ve had #vitiligo since I was little, and no one knew what it was,” wrote one Twitter user, “In recent years, I’ve seen high fashion models with it, and now this.. very cool.”

People with Vitiligo are finally feeling seen

Visibility for vitiligo is getting better thanks to models like Winnie Harlow and Amy Deanna. Due in large part to recent exposure to vitiligo through mainstream media, general understanding about and attitudes toward this condition are changing.

Perhaps the most well-known current face of vitiligo is Chantelle Brown-Young

The black fashion model, activist, and vitiligo spokesperson is also known professionally as Winnie Harlow. Winnie was diagnosed with vitiligo in childhood, and she revealed she was teased and bullied and at one point contemplated suicide. “The continuous harassment and the despair that [vitiligo] brought on my life was so unbearably dehumanizing that I wanted to kill myself,” she disclosed.

After competing on America’s Next Top Model in 2014, Winnie Harlow became a household name.

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Stargazing 🔭

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Winnie redefined global standards of beauty and, in her own words, accepting the differences that make us unique and authentic. She went on to speak at the Dove Self-Esteem Project panel at the 2015 Women in the World London Summit and was presented with the Role Model award at the Portuguese GQ Men of the Year event that same year.

Fashion brand Missguided unveiled a diverse range of mannequins in 2018—including one with Vitiligo. 

The collection of mannequins included female figures of different ethnicities, in addition to highlighting skin conditions such as stretch marks and vitiligo.

Mattel is leading the charge for representation in the toy industry.

The American toy maker has incorporated more diversity in its Barbie range by offering dolls with different skin shades, eye colors, hairstyles and clothing. In 2017, the company introduced the first Barbie to wear a hijab.

Though Barbie dolls have long been overwhelmingly white and skinny, Barbie has made strides during the past five years to diversify. 

Previously, Barbie dolls have drawn criticism for upholding a slim, white, domestic ideal. In 2019 though, more than half its doll selections were inclusive. According to a Mattel spokesperson, since 2015, the more than 170 new looks for Barbie have included 5 body types, 22 skin tones, 76 hair styles, 94 hair colors, and 13 eye colors. 

Consumers have largely responded to these choices enthusiastically.

A curvy black Fashionista with an afro hairstyle was the top-selling doll during almost every week in 2019. “We are proud that Barbie is the most diverse doll line on the market that continues to evolve to better reflect the world girls see around them,” says Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and global head of Barbie and its dolls portfolio.