Rachel Zegler was tortured by Steven Spielberg during a year-long audition process that left her sweating.
Rachel Zegler's stunning performance in West Side Story has made it one of the most talked-about films this awards season.
In her debut performance in Steven Spielberg's re-adaptation of a classic musical, she displays a wide range of abilities, including dancing and singing.
Zegler, on the other hand, recently opened up about the arduous audition process that lasted a year before she received word that she had gotten the part.
West Side Story is based on the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name, which is based on William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
The story was brought to the silver screen in 1961, and it won ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
Spielberg has always wanted to make West Side Story, but the opportunity has only recently presented itself.
The plot of West Side Story revolves around two rival gangs, the Jets and the Sharks.
They're fighting for territory and aren't going down without a fight.
Despite the fact that Tony (Ansel Elgort) and Mara (Zegler) are on opposing sides of the conflict, they quickly fall in love.
The news spreads quickly, resulting in a pre-planned brawl with potentially fatal consequences.
Before it's too late, Tony and Mara must figure out a way to put an end to the brawl.
Extra spoke with Zegler and her West Side Story co-star Ariana DeBose about their experiences filming the film.
The stars were asked about the audition process and how they got cast in such a big film by the interviewer.
Zegler explained that her audition process took an entire year and cost her a lot of money.
"Mine lasted a year," Zegler explained.
"I answered a Twitter casting call from Cindy Tolan, our incredible casting director, that was just asking for four leads in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story, and they were looking for girls 15 to 25 to audition for Mara, so I just kind of sat down and sent in a tape"
"Steven tortured me for a year, bringing me in eight or nine times," Zegler continued. "I don't consider it torture, but he always says he made me sweat out my 17th year on Earth. It was like 16 through 17, I was just sweating, waiting by the phone. But, I got the part, so I can't complain."
For the rest of the year, Zegler's West Side Story performance will continue to dominate many conversations.
This, however, is only the beginning.
She has joined the cast of Shazam! Fury of the Gods, which will be released in 2023.
She also has a role as Snow White in a live-action adaptation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in the works.
Zegler's chances of landing a leading role in the future are only going to get better.
On December 10th, the film West Side Story will be released in theaters.