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Box investigation: What happens next?

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When Rachel Zegler, a 17-year-old high school student from New Jersey, posted a tweet of her singing a pitch perfect cover of Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s “Shallow” back in December, she went viral. To date, the 30-second clip has over 83,000 retweets and 335,000 likes. Now, just a month later, the teen has been chosen to star opposite Ansel Elgort as Maria in Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story.

How did she get cast?

Spielberg began casting for the role back in January 2018 while he was filming the fifth Indiana Jones installment. Dedicated to keeping the movie as “ethnically authentic” as possible, the production put out an open casting call for Latinx actors. Zegler responded to the call with a video of herself singing “Tonight” and “Me Siento Hermosa,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Who will she be starring alongside?

Ansel Elgort will be starring opposite Zegler as Tony, a former member of a white gang called the Jets, while Zegler plays the younger sister of a Puerto Rican gang leader. Ariana DeBose (Hamilton, A Bronx Tale: The Musical, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical) will star as Anita, David Alvarez (Billy Elliot: The Musical) as Bernardo, and Josh Andrés Rivera (Hamilton) as Chino.

 

“I am so thrilled to be playing the iconic role of Maria alongside this amazing cast,” Zegler told The Hollywood Reporter. “West Side Story was the first musical I encountered with a Latina lead character. As a Colombian-American, I am humbled by the opportunity to play a role that means so much to the Hispanic community.” There is no official release date for West Side Story yet, though filming is anticipated to begin this summer.

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