Actresses Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose, and Oscar winner Rita Moreno are the cover story for the most recent issue of The Hollywood Reporter. The trio talked about their experience working on Steven Spielberg’s version of West Side Story and Latine representation in Hollywood. And, honestly, have you seen a classier cover?
“An honor to be on the cover this issue of [The Hollywood Reporter] with two of my favorite ladies, one of whom showed me the promise of opportunity and blazed a trail that continues to light fires in so many hearts,” Zegler tweeted.
On the topic of Latine identity and representation, Zegler said it was “hard to gauge” how much Hollywood has progressed over the last few years because there’s still room to grow. “If you don’t know what the best-case scenario is, how can you gauge where you’re at?” Zelger said. “Rita understands more than we can about what it was like then versus what it’s like now. There’s always a ways to go.”
Moreno adds, “We’ve definitely made progress, but that doesn’t mean we’ve come home, exactly.”
This awards season, all three women have received Oscar buzz for their roles in the updated West Side Story, but it’s DeBose who most awards analysts believe has the best chance of landing a nomination early next month. The work, in her opinion, has just started when it comes to a more diverse Hollywood. “This isn’t the moment that we stop doing the work we’re doing and pat ourselves on the back,” DeBose added.
According to West Side Story’s casting director, Cindy Tolan, it took four attempts to talk DeBose into coming in for an audition. But when she finally did, Spielberg found his Anita. “From her audition all the way through production there was an empowerment about her that was just so palpable,” he said. “I’m not sure anyone can watch Ariana’s performance and not feel how tightly she had her arms around her own Anita and created her own special light.”