While she may not be reprising her iconic character of Anita, Rita Moreno will be making a return to the film that made her a household name, according to a report by People.
The 86-year-old starlet will be joining production on Steven Spielberg’s remake of the film adaptation of West Side Story and will also be serving as an executive producer, according to an announcement by 20th Century Fox, the studio releasing the new film.
Moreno has been continuing her long-running acting career with a starring role on Netflix’s One Day at a Time and will be playing the role of Valentina in the latest film adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical that was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Tony Kushner. Valentina is a reimagined version of the original’s Doc, who is the owner of the store in which Tony, who will be played by Ansel Elgort. Moreno’s role in the 1961 film won Moreno an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress and made her a Hollywood star.
In a statement regarding the news, Moreno said, “Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself revisiting this seminal work. And to be asked by Steven Spielberg to participate is simply thrilling! Then to work together with the brilliant playwright, Tony Kushner – what a glorious stew! I am tingling!”
Spielberg had always wanted Moreno to be involved in the remake, saying in a statement of his own, “From our earliest discussions, we wanted to include Rita Moreno in our production. Her Anita [from the 1961 film] is one of the greatest musical performances ever filmed, and a personal favorite of mine. We created an original role for her, and we feel beyond fortunate that Rita will bring her extraordinary gifts as an actress, as well as her deep understanding of West Side Story to this production as an executive producer.”
Moreno’s acting career has spanned nearly 70 years, becoming one of the most celebrated figures in entertainment in the process. Moreno is only of only 15 people to qualify for an EGOT, as the actress has won two Emmys, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. Moreno has also been given the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, a Kennedy Center Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Spielberg’s version of West Side Story will begin filming in the summer of 2019. The original film version won 10 Oscars, including Best Supporting Actress for Moreno, Best Picture and Best Director.