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Rita Moreno says ‘West Side Story’ remake does things “that weren’t in the original, [but] should have”


Rita Moreno is counting down the days until Steven Spielberg‘s West Side Story remake hits theaters in December.  Moreno, who starred in the original 1961 film and won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, reveals that she plays an equally important role in the revival.

Chatting about the upcoming movie for TCM Classic Film Fest that celebrates West Side Story’s 60th anniversary, the One Day at a Time star revealed more about the character she plays.

“The part that I play is based on Doc,” the owner of the corner shop of which main character Tony (played by Ansel Elgort) works at, notes Moreno, via Entertainment Tonight. “Except [I play] Doc’s widow, Valentina.”

Continues Moreno, 89, “So, you’re in for some surprises, because there are things that are done in this movie that weren’t in the original, that should have.”

Moreno explained that some of the big changes made her think, “Oh my god, they’re doing that, huh?”

Also joining the interview was George Chakiris, who played the Shark gang’s leader Bernardo in the 1961 movie musical.  He revealed that, upon learning that Spielberg would be breathing new life into the beloved movie, he felt a sense of relief.

“I absolutely expect the he will do something wonderful and that I’ll love what I see him do,” explained Chakiris.  “The only thing that I think is nice to remember is that he had an incredible template to work from, to make his film.”

However, he hopes that the audience will respect both films for their cultural impact, explaining during the presser, “I just think that what proceeded him should be respected, that’s all.”

The 60th anniversary screening of West Side Story airs on Turner Classic Movies and HBO Max on May 6 at 8 p.m. ET.


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