Steven Spielberg's West Side Story Remake Has Officially Cast Its Star-Crossed Lovers

West Side Story has found its star-crossed lovers. Last year, it was announced that Ansel Elgort had been cast to portray Tony in Steven Spielberg's forthcoming adaptation of the classic musical. Now, Deadline has revealed Maria will be portrayed by Rachel Zegler. The 17-year-old Colombian-American high school student was one of 30,000 hopefuls who participated in an online casting call, and her evidently stellar covers of "Tonight" and "I Feel Pretty" earned her the role.

Though Natalie Wood is famous for her impassioned portrayal of Maria in the original screen adaptation, the casting choice has since been met with criticism given that Wood was not Puerto Rican. In a statement shared with Variety, Zegler said she is "humbled by the opportunity to play a role that means so much to the Hispanic community."

If you haven't seen any iteration of the story on stage or the big screen, teenagers Tony
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‘West Side Story’ Rounds Out Cast With Newcomers and Stage Veterans Alike

‘West Side Story’ Rounds Out Cast With Newcomers and Stage Veterans Alike
Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” update has rounded out its ensemble cast. 17-year-old Rachel Zegler will be playing Maria, the role made famous by Natalie Wood in the 1961 film version, with Ariana DeBose as Anita (played by Rita Moreno in that same film), David Alvarez as Bernardo, and Josh Andrés Rivera as Chino. Ansel Elgort was previously cast as Tony, and Moreno — who originally said she wouldn’t be making a cameo — joined the cast in late November and is also serving as executive producer. Deadline first broke the news.

“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,” said Spielberg. “I am in awe of
See full article at Indiewire »

‘West Side Story’ Remake Casts Newcomer as Maria

  • Variety
‘West Side Story’ Remake Casts Newcomer as Maria
Steven Spielberg has cast 17-year-old high schooler Rachel Zegler as Maria in his remake of “West Side Story.”

She will make her film debut opposite Ansel Elgort as Tony. Broadway veteran Ariana DeBose has been cast as Anita and David Alvarez as Bernardo. Theater performer Josh Andrés Rivera has been cast as Chino.

Spielberg has already cast Rita Moreno as Valentina, a reconceived and expanded version of the character of Doc, the owner of the corner store in which Tony works. Moreno won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Anita in the 1961 film version of “West Side Story.” She’s also an executive producer on the remake.

“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,” Spielberg said. “I’m so happy that we’ve assembled a cast that
See full article at Variety »

Steven Spielberg's 'West Side Story' Casts Unknown 17-Year-Old as Maria

Steven Spielberg's 'West Side Story' Casts Unknown 17-Year-Old as Maria
Steven Spielberg's West Side Story remake has found its Maria.

High school student Rachel Zegler, who responded to the production's open casting call for Latinx actors with a video of herself singing "Tonight" and "Me Siento Hermosa," will be making her film debut starring in the role played by Natalie Wood in the 1961 classic.

“I am so thrilled to be playing the iconic role of Maria alongside this amazing cast,” said Zegler. “West Side Story was the first musical I encountered with a Latina lead character. As a Colombian-American, I am humbled by ...
See full article at The Hollywood Reporter »

Interview: Local Band whitewolfsonicprincess Releases ‘The Alternate Boot’ on Jan. 8, 2019

Chicago – The album premiere is a cause for celebration, and the local Chicagoland band whitewolfsonicprinces (wwsp) is debuting their third album, a double set release called “The Alternate Boot Vols. 1 & 2” on January 8th, 2019. For more on the album release and all things wwsp, click here.

The band began in 2006 out of a theater project anchored by lead singer Carla Hayden and guitarist/singer James Moeller, who have been together as partners and collaborators since meeting as teenagers in the 1970s. The band has evolved since it began, adding more instrumentation to their signature sound, but at the core are the songs written by Hayden and Moeller, and to travel with whitewolfsonicprincess in “The Alternate Boot” is to float in a dream and destiny of magical thinking, ethereal musicality and images of promise… and we all arrive together.

Carla Hayden (front) and James Moeller (right) of whitewolfsonicprincess

Photo credit: whitewolfsonicprincess.com
See full article at HollywoodChicago.com »

Robert De Niro: ‘Trump is a real racist, a white supremacist’

The notoriously reticent star has become one of the most vocal critics of Donald Trump. He talks about how the man in the White House makes mobsters look bad, the damage being done to America – and how he fears for his mixed-race children

Here, with Orson Welles and Spike Lee on the walls, and James Dean and Natalie Wood on the doors to the toilets, is where Robert De Niro might have died. In October, a pipe bomb addressed to the actor was sent to the New York warehouse where his film production company hugs an atrium dotted with vintage movie posters.

A security guard found the suspicious package in the mailroom at 5am and police vehicles swarmed the Tribeca neighbourhood before dawn. De Niro got a call from security early that morning telling him the pipe bomb was being removed. “Naturally you are concerned,” he says phlegmatically. “It’s just what it is.
See full article at The Guardian - Film News »

Triumph And Tragedy: The Story Behind "Brainstorm", Natalie Wood's Last Movie

  • CinemaRetro
By Lee Pfeiffer

If movie fans recall the 1983 sci-fi thriller "Brainstorm" at all, it's generally as a footnote in history. The movie marked the final screen appearance of Natalie Wood, whose mysterious and controversial death still remains hotly debated. Director Douglas Trumbulll, a special effects master, had introduced the concept of virtual reality many years before the concept would become real. He also assembled an impressive cast that, in addition to Wood, included three Oscar winning actors: Cliff Robertson, Christopher Walken and Louise Fletcher. Things were proceeding very well and expectations were high for the MGM production. Trumbull's incredible special effects concepts were generating a good deal of buzz. However, with Wood's tragic death days before filming was to be completed, MGM got cold feet and tried to shut the production down in order to get reimbursed for all costs to date through Lloyds of London. Trumbull boldly resisted and
See full article at CinemaRetro »

In reflection by Anne-Katrin Titze

Wash Westmoreland on the influence of Orson Welles's Citizen Kane: "Willy basically raps this poem about Colette and we have this big table and, oh, wouldn't it be great if everyone just started dancing on the table." Photo: Anne-Katrin Titze

Max Ophüls' The Earrings Of Madame De…, starring Danielle Darrieux, Charles Boyer, and Vittorio De Sica, Guy de Maupassant, the Eiffel Tower, Orson Welles's Citizen Kane, and François Truffaut, the reflected relationship between Dominic West's Willy and Keira Knightley's Colette, and the influence of Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Cure on Earthquake Bird, starring Alicia Vikander, Riley Keough, and Jack Huston, adapted from Susanna Jones's novel - all come up in the final instalment of my conversation with Colette director Wash Westmoreland at Le Parker Meridien in New York.

Wash Westmoreland on Willy (Dominic West) taking credit for Colette's (Keira Knightley) work: "Like in West Side Story,
See full article at eyeforfilm.co.uk »

Female Skateboarding Comedy From ‘Love’ Co-Creator, ‘Skate Kitchen’ Director in the Works at HBO

  • The Wrap
HBO is developing a female skateboarding comedy series from “Love” co-creator Lesley Arfin and filmmaker Crystal Moselle.

Inspired by Moselle’s critically-acclaimed 2018 Sundance film “Skate Kitchen,” the untitled show is set against the backdrop of New York City and follows “a diverse group of young women navigating their lives through the predominantly male oriented world of skateboarding.”

Moselle and Arfin will write and executive produce the project, with Moselle also directing the in-development series.

Also Read: HBO to Explore the Life of Natalie Wood in Documentary 'What Remains Behind'

“As girls we were never brave enough to try skateboarding,” Moselle and Arfin said. “We’re excited to work on a project that could potentially get other girls to feel inspired enough to face their fears, fight the patriarchy and start shredding. Women are changing the game across industries all over this country. Why not add skateboarding to that list?”

Moselle
See full article at The Wrap »

HBO to Explore the Life of Natalie Wood in Documentary ‘What Remains Behind’

  • The Wrap
HBO is set to explore the life and career of actress Natalie Wood through the perspective of her daughter, Natasha Gregson Wagner, in an upcoming documentary from Amblin Television.

The premium cabler announced on Thursday that it had begun production on “Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind,” a doc that will re-examine her personal and professional triumphs and challenges, which have often been overshadowed by her tragic death at age 43. The HBO Documentary Films production will feature previously unseen home movies, photographs, diaries, letters and artifacts, as well intimate interviews with her friends, family, co-stars and colleagues.

It is currently slated to debut on HBO in 2020.

Also Read: 'My Brilliant Friend' Renewed for Season 2 at HBO

“I’m looking forward to working with HBO, Amblin Television and our director, Laurent Bouzereau, to create this unprecedented portrait of a woman who was an actress, a legend and ultimately, my mother,
See full article at The Wrap »

Oscar Flashback: Best Original Songs of the late 1960s, including ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head’

Oscar Flashback: Best Original Songs of the late 1960s, including ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head’
This article marks Part 10 of the Gold Derby series analyzing 84 years of Best Original Song at the Oscars. Join us as we look back at the timeless tunes recognized in this category, the results of each race and the overall rankings of the winners.

The 1965 Oscar nominees in Best Original Song were:

“The Ballad of Cat Ballou” from “Cat Ballou

“The Sweetheart Tree” from “The Great Race

“The Shadow of Your Smile” from “The Sandpiper

“I Will Wait for You” from “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

“What’s New, Pussycat” from “What’s New, Pussycat”

Won: “The Shadow of Your Smile” from “The Sandpiper

Should’ve won: “The Ballad of Cat Ballou” from “Cat Ballou

On February 15, 1965, at the mere age of 45, Nat King Cole, unimpeachably one of the all-time great vocalists and jazz pianists, died of lung cancer. Cole tunes were nominated on three occasions at the Oscars – in 1950 (for
See full article at Gold Derby »

Rita Moreno Says She’s ‘Nervous’ About Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ and Won’t Make a Cameo

Rita Moreno Says She’s ‘Nervous’ About Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ and Won’t Make a Cameo
Even after 57 years, Rita Moreno is just as opinionated as Anita, her character from “West Side Story.” When asked her thoughts on Steven Spielberg’s forthcoming “West Side Story” remake, Moreno said she most likely would not be making a cameo. Moreno appeared alongside several original cast members at the Beverly Hills Paley Center for an event honoring choreographer Jerome Robbins last week, where director Rob Marshall (“Chicago”) moderated a Q and A.

According to Entertainment Weekly, while Russ Tamblyn (Riff), George Chakiris (Bernardo), and Eliot Feld (Baby John) all expressed interest in making cameos, Moreno demurred. “That would be strange,” she said in a red carpet interview. “I think it would be distracting. No, no, no I don’t belong in there in any capacity.”

Remaking “West Side Story” has been a passion project of Spielberg’s for many years, having pursued the rights for decades. Spielberg worked with Kushner on “Lincoln” and “Munich,
See full article at Indiewire »

He will rock you: Rami Malek (‘Bohemian Rhapsody’) breaks out as a leading Oscar rival for Best Actor

He will rock you: Rami Malek (‘Bohemian Rhapsody’) breaks out as a leading Oscar rival for Best Actor
Only two Gold Derby Oscar Experts who’ve seen “Bohemian Rhapsody’ have updated their Best Actor predictions since Fox unveiled it to a select crowd of award voters and journos on its Century City lot last night, but Peter Travers (Rolling Stone) and I both just pushed Rami Malek up into second place behind Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”).

Expect more Oscarologists to shove Malek higher up on their rankings, too – even to number one? – over the next week as “Bohemian Rhapsody” unspools at more industry screenings across Hollywood. There’s an embargo on film reviews, but suffice it to say that Malek delivers, wows, bedazzles and seizes your heart in a performance guaranteed to be a leading Oscar contender for Best Actor. Maybe even the winner.

SEELatest Best Actor predictions by 21 top Oscar Experts

Up until last night there was huge skepticism that Malek could pull off Freddie Mercury
See full article at Gold Derby »

The West Side Story Remake Has Found Its Leading Man: Ansel Elgort

  • Popsugar
The West Side Story Remake Has Found Its Leading Man: Ansel Elgort
West Side Story has found its leading man. Ansel Elgort has reportedly been cast to portray Tony in Steven Spielberg's forthcoming adaptation of the classic musical set in Manhattan. The 24-year-old actor previously receive critical acclaim for his role in 2017's Baby Driver, but this will be Elgort's biggest role to date by far.

Tony and Maria are the protagonists of the tragic love story modeled after Romeo and Juliet. Tony is a former member of American gang the Jets, which rivals Puerto Rican gang the Sharks. Maria's older brother is the leader of the Sharks, and thus enters the story's central dilemma. Tony was first portrayed by Larry Kert in the original 1957 musical and later by Richard Beymer in the 1961 film.

The remake's Maria has yet to be announced. Though Natalie Wood is famous for her impassioned portrayal of the star-crossed lover in the screen adaptation, the casting
See full article at Popsugar »

Ansel Elgort takes on the lead in Spielberg’s West Side Story

  • HeyUGuys
Baby Driver star Ansel Elgort has landed himself the leading role of Tony in Steven Spielberg’s forthcoming adaptation of West Side Story.

Based on the Broadway musical, the story focuses on the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs. The story is inspired by William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Pulitzer prize winner and Oscar nominee Tony Kushner has penned the remake.

The original stage musical included music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and was set in the Upper West Side neighborhood in New York City in the mid 1950s, an ethnic, blue-collar neighborhood.

Also in the news – Taron Egerton is the spitting image of Elton John in first look image from Rocketman

The stage show was first adapted for film in 1961 and was directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. It starred Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, and George Chakiris.
See full article at HeyUGuys »

Natalie Wood’s Sister Confronts Robert Wagner: 'Why Won’t You Speak To Detectives?'

Actress Natalie Wood's still anguished, grieving sister Lana Wood explosively confronted the late star’s ex-husband Robert Wagner — and the sensational showdown was all caught on tape! In the bombshell encounter captured by acclaimed new podcast Fatal Voyage: The Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood, former Bond Girl Lana, now 72, pleaded with her former brother-in-law to talk to homicide investigators probing the mysterious death of her Oscar-winner sister. "Why won’t you speak to the detectives?" Lana charged. "Clear yourself if you can!" But hard-hearted Robert, 88 — who has stonewalled all attempts by police to discuss his former wife’s death on Nov. 29, 1981 — callously refused. "Why would you even bring up anything like that?" he asked. "I have talked to everybody… I just can’t believe it." The shocking run-in is one of two times Robert was confronted on tape about his role in Natalie’s death. Both face-to-face meetings were captured on audio devices,
See full article at In Touch Weekly »

Natalie Wood’s Sister Confronts Robert Wagner: 'Why Won’t You Speak To Detectives?'

Actress Natalie Wood's still anguished, grieving sister Lana Wood explosively confronted the late star’s ex-husband Robert Wagner — and the sensational showdown was all caught on tape! In the bombshell encounter captured by acclaimed new podcast Fatal Voyage: The Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood, former Bond Girl Lana, now 72, pleaded with her former brother-in-law to talk to homicide investigators probing the mysterious death of her Oscar-winner sister. "Why won’t you speak to the detectives?" Lana charged. "Clear yourself if you can!" But hard-hearted Robert, 88 — who has stonewalled all attempts by police to discuss his former wife’s death on Nov. 29, 1981 — callously refused. "Why would you even bring up anything like that?" he asked. "I have talked to everybody… I just can’t believe it." The shocking run-in is one of two times Robert was confronted on tape about his role in Natalie’s death. Both face-to-face meetings were captured on audio devices,
See full article at Life and Style »

Natalie Wood’s Sister Confronts Robert Wagner: 'Why Won’t You Speak To Detectives?'

Actress Natalie Wood's still anguished, grieving sister Lana Wood explosively confronted the late star’s ex-husband Robert Wagner — and the sensational showdown was all caught on tape! In the bombshell encounter captured by acclaimed new podcast Fatal Voyage: The Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood, former Bond Girl Lana, now 72, pleaded with her former brother-in-law to talk to homicide investigators probing the mysterious death of her Oscar-winner sister. "Why won’t you speak to the detectives?" Lana charged. "Clear yourself if you can!" But hard-hearted Robert, 88 — who has stonewalled all attempts by police to discuss his former wife’s death on Nov. 29, 1981 — callously refused. "Why would you even bring up anything like that?" he asked. "I have talked to everybody… I just can’t believe it." The shocking run-in is one of two times Robert was confronted on tape about his role in Natalie’s death. Both face-to-face meetings were captured on audio devices,
See full article at Closer Weekly »

Bombshell Allegations: Natalie Wood’s Autopsy Was Botched, Says Nancy Grace

Legal eagle Nancy Grace has blasted the former Los Angeles coroner who she claimed botched the autopsy on Natalie Wood's body and all but cleared her husband Robert Wagner from suspicion! In an exclusive interview with the acclaimed new podcast Fatal Voyage: The Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood, the former prosecutor and TV host claims said Dr. Thomas T. Noguchi made “elementary” mistakes in ruling Natalie’s death an accidental drowning just days after the Oscar winner’s tragic death. “What I find to be a clear problem is that... Noguchi did not scrape for tissue under Natalie Wood’s fingernails while conducting her post-mortem,” Grace explained to Fatal Voyage. “I mean, it’s elementary that you scrape the nails. And I’ve seen it done! That is so major. So it’s overwhelmingly a problem with Noguchi’s autopsy.” Conducting that test, Grace told Fatal Voyage, may have
See full article at In Touch Weekly »

Bombshell Allegations: Natalie Wood’s Autopsy Was Botched, Says Nancy Grace

Legal eagle Nancy Grace has blasted the former Los Angeles coroner who she claimed botched the autopsy on Natalie Wood's body and all but cleared her husband Robert Wagner from suspicion! In an exclusive interview with the acclaimed new podcast Fatal Voyage: The Mysterious Death of Natalie Wood, the former prosecutor and TV host claims said Dr. Thomas T. Noguchi made “elementary” mistakes in ruling Natalie’s death an accidental drowning just days after the Oscar winner’s tragic death. “What I find to be a clear problem is that... Noguchi did not scrape for tissue under Natalie Wood’s fingernails while conducting her post-mortem,” Grace explained to Fatal Voyage. “I mean, it’s elementary that you scrape the nails. And I’ve seen it done! That is so major. So it’s overwhelmingly a problem with Noguchi’s autopsy.” Conducting that test, Grace told Fatal Voyage, may have
See full article at Life and Style »
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