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West Side Story Film Casts Newcomer as Maria, With Ariana DeBose as Anita

Principal casting has been announced for Steven Spielberg's film remake.

Ariana DeBose has been cast as Anita in Steven Spielberg's film remake of West Side Story.
(© David Gordon)

Deadline has broken news about principal casting for Steven Spielberg's upcoming West Side Story film remake.

As previously announced, Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars) will star as Tony. He will now be joined by newcomer Rachel Zegler, a 17-year-old New Jersey high school student who will make her film debut opposite Elgort as Maria. Tony-nominated stage vet Ariana DeBose (Summer) will take on the role of Anita, with Tony winner David Alvarez (Billy Elliot) as Bernardo, and Josh Andrés Rivera (Hamilton tour) as Chino.

As announced in November, Rita Moreno, who won an Oscar for playing Anita in the original West Side Story film, will take on the role of Valentina, an expanded and reconfigured version of the character Doc, the owner of the store where Tony works. Moreno will also serve as executive producer.

West Side Story, which debuted on Broadway in 1957, was written by Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents. The 1961 film was directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. Spielberg, Kevin McCollum and Kristie Macosko Krieger will produce the new movie musical, which will be released by Twentieth Century Fox. The film, which begins shooting this summer, is adapted for the screen by Tony Kushner, and will feature choreography by Tony winner Justin Peck.

Additional casting announcements will be made in the coming weeks, but if you want to get a little sample of what to expect from our fresh-faced Maria, watch this video below of her singing "I'll Never Love Again" from A Star Is Born.