Rita Moreno Returns in a "Masterstroke" Comeback in Steven Spielberg's "West Side Story"

The year 2021 will be the year of musicals on the big screen.

One of the most eagerly anticipated films of the year is Steven Spielberg's remake of the 1957 Broadway musical West Side Story.

The legendary director takes on an iconic musical, but he also manages to combine his own staging with the 1961 film adaptation.

In Spielberg's adaptation of West Side Story, actress Rita Moreno returns, and here's how they got her on board.

Moreno's film career began near the end of Hollywood's Golden Age.

Her notable performances include supporting roles in Singin' in the Rain (1952) and The King and I (1956), and she is one of the few actors to win a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award.

Moreno is a global icon whose work spans multiple mediums and appeals to audiences all over the world.

Moreno is also well-known for her role in the 1961 film West Side Story.

The film won ten Academy Awards, including one for Moreno's outstanding performance as Anita in Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Ariana DeBose reprises her role as Anita in Steven Spielberg's reimagining of West Side Story.

Moreno, on the other hand, plays Valentina in a role created specifically for her.

Moreno, Spielberg, and writer Tony Kushner spoke with ABC News about West Side Story.

They talked about Valentina's character and how to get Moreno to join the cast.

When Spielberg called Moreno to offer her the part, there was a misunderstanding at first.

"He [Spielberg] asked if you'd be interested in being a part of it," Moreno explained.

"And I told him, 'You know, I'm flattered, but I don't do cameos.' He replied, 'Cameo? No! There's a part in here that Tony Kushner wrote for you. I just want to know if you're interested.' (Screams). (Laughs).

Spielberg explained how the idea of bringing Moreno back to West Side Story came to him.

He was immediately drawn to the idea.

Tony Kushner came up with the concept, according to Spielberg.

"'What if you cast Rita Moreno as Doc's widow?' So, Doc has passed away, and the widow has taken over the candy store. When Tony approached me with this idea, I thought it was brilliant.

"We wanted her knowledge, wisdom, and incredible talent," Kushner continued.

West Side Story premiered in theaters on December 10th.

For the time being, the film is only available in theaters.

After the initial theatrical run, audiences will be able to rent the film on digital platforms such as Amazon Prime, iTunes, YouTube, Google Play, and others.

Given the studio's theatrical window agreement, this will most likely begin in mid-January 2022.20th Century Studios owns the rights to West Side Story.

Although Disney now owns the company, it has an agreement with HBO that dates back to when it was owned by Fox.

As a result, it's possible that West Side Story will be streamed on HBO or HBO Max after its theatrical run concludes.

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