After auditioning more than 30K people from around the world, Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story has found its Maria in fresh face 17-year old New Jersey High School student Rachel Zegler who will make her film debut opposite Ansel Elgort as Tony.
Rounding out the principal Shark roles are Broadway veterans Ariana DeBose as Anita and David Alvarez as Bernardo. Theater performer Josh Andrés Rivera has been cast as Chino.
Spielberg and his team were committed to finding the best actors within the Puerto Rican as well as the broader Latinx community. The team has been conducting research and having conversations with Hispanic heritage and advocacy groups. In December 2018, Spielberg and Tony Kushner, who is adapting West Side Story, sat with professors and students at the University of Puerto Rico (Universidad de Puerto Rico – Río Piedras) to learn more about performing arts on the island. The production team maintains a dialogue with the University and Puerto Rican filmmakers there.