Rita Moreno, 86, is set to return to the big-screen for Steven Spielberg’s new film adaption of West Side Story.

Moreno, who currently stars on Netflix’s One Day at a Time, will be playing Valentina in the adaption. Valentina is an expanded version of the character Doc, who was the owner of the corner store where Tony worked. 

The film which is expected to begin production next summer is being written by Oscar-nominated screenwriter and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner, and it is based on the award-winning 1957 Broadway musical.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself revisiting this seminal work,” Moreno said in a statement. “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!”

In 1961, Moreno’s career took off after she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for playing the role of Anita in the original West Side Story movie. In the movie, Moreno’s character Anita, was the girlfriend of Bernardo who was the head of the Puerto Rican gang The Sharks, and her character Anita sang signature songs in the movie from “America” to “Tonight Quintet.”


While speaking about the new film, director Spielberg said that he had always wanted Moreno to be involved in the film. “From our earliest discussions, we wanted to include Rita Moreno in our production,” he said in a statement. “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 is one of 15 people to have achieved EGOT status, for having won two Emmys, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. She has also been awarded the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, a Kennedy Center Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Some of her notable acting works include Singin’ in the Rain, Carnal Knowledge, The Electric Company, The Muppet Show and Oz. She has also appeared in roles on the TV series, Getting On, Jane The Virgin, and Grace and Frankie.

Read more about: