These celebrities are our top picks for the West Side Story remake


Naya Rivera has her sights set on playing Anita in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story remake. Here’s a few other celebs we’d like to see in the remake.

Could you imagine Glee’s Santana Lopez belting it out in a full production of West Side Story? We could, and it might be likely given Naya Rivera, who played Santana, wants to snag a role in the upcoming remake from Steven Spielberg.

On Sunday, she posted a short and sweet audition video to Instagram belting out the musical’s most famous song, “America.’ In the video, she says she’s audition for the role of Anita, the iconic character played by Rita Moreno in the 1961 film.

Rivera should almost be a shoe-in for the role, given that she sort of played it on Glee already, when Santana was cast in McKinley High’s production of West Side Story. Her performance of “A Boy Like That” should be all the footage Spielberg needs to see. She can sing, she can dance and goodness knows, she’s got that enviable sauce.

Her audition video’s got us thinking: who else would we like to see in the main roles? We’ve got some suggestions.

NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 11: Eva Noblezada attends the 2017 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Jenny Anderson/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

Maria: Eva Noblezada

We reckon Maria is probably the hardest part to cast in the film. She has to be innocent, strong, romantic and most importantly, be able to hit the high notes. There are a wealth of incredible Latina actresses that can do this, but it’s likely that many have yet to be given the chance to shine in prominent roles. Spielberg’s open casting call is going to do wonders to open that door.

One actress that immediately comes to mind for Maria is Filipino/Mexican-American actress Eva Noblezada. She might not yet be a movie star, but having recently finished a run in both London and New York as Kim in Miss Saigon, we know the girl has got pipes.

Like Kim, the character of Maria combines vulnerability with conviction and courage, and Eva performed that eight times a week for more than a year.

Plus it’s not unusual for stage actresses to work on big movies like this. Samantha Barks played Eponine in the West End before she played the role in the Les Miserables movie, and Julie Andrews was hand-picked by Walt Disney himself for Mary Poppins after she played Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady.

MADRID, SPAIN – JUNE 14: Actor Tom Holland attends ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ photocall at the Villamagna Hotel on June 14, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images)

Tony: Tom Holland

Naya Rivera isn’t the only person to upload a tape of herself singing a song from West Side Story recently. Dear Evan Hansen star Ben Platt has also posted a recording of himself singing Tony’s big solo “Maria”, and it is a glorious feast for the eyes and ears. We’d have no arguments here.

But we also have another suggestion based almost entirely on a single Instagram post. Tom Holland posted a picture of himself in May last year hanging out in an alleyway under a fire escape, looking for all intents and purposes like he was about to climb it and woo his newfound love Maria via the medium of song.

We know he can sing (he played Billy Elliot in the West End), we certainly know he can dance (his “Umbrella” performance on Lip Sync Battle will go down in history) and most importantly, we know that we’d sob if anything were to happen to him on screen.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 22: ActorWill Poulter attends the UK fan screening of ‘Maze Runner: The Death Cure’ at the Vue West End on January 22, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

Riff: Will Poulter

Riff — the antagonistic, ignorant leader of the Jets and Tony’s best friend — is a hard part to get right. We have to understand why Tony and Riff are friends when Riff doesn’t exactly show the best of himself fighting rival gang, the Sharks.

Will Poulter could do it though. He can bring humanity to a character who, especially on paper, lacks it. We don’t want to typecast him but take, for instance, Poulter’s role in young-adult dystopian thriller The Maze Runner. Gally might be an enemy to the main character, but the way he looks out for the other members of his gang does redeem him, to an extent.

NEW ORLEANS, LA – JULY 01: Anthony Ramos attends the Premiere Of Netflix Original Film ‘The Incredible Jessica James’ At The 2017 Essence Festival on July 1, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Erika Goldring/[SOURCE CREDIT for Netflix)

Bernardo or Chino: Anthony Ramos

The thing about Anthony Ramos is that he can do puppy dog-eyes and cheekiness in equal measure. It’s what made him so devastating playing the dual roles of John Laurens and Philip Hamilton in the original Broadway cast of Hamilton. Just imagine him for one second as Bernardo, Maria’s quite frankly sexy older brother, also known as the popular leader of the Sharks and lover of the feisty Anita.

But although we strongly believe he might have been born to play Bernardo in this remake (the romance, the familial warmth, the devastation of a pre-interval demise), there’s a slight caveat that he may be too young to play Bernardo opposite Rivera’s Anita, if she were cast. If that were the case, then he’d make an excellent Chino, the angry lovelorn Shark who dates Maria before she meets Tony.

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 28: John C Reilly attends the European premiere of ‘Kong: Skull Island’ at the Cineworld Empire Leicester Square on February 28, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Officer Krupke: John C. Reilly

Who other than John C. Reilly can play Officer Krupke? He’s starred in award-winning musicals before, playing Roxie Hart’s hapless husband, Amos, in Chicago. And if the word “hapless” applies to any character in West Side Story, it’s Officer Krupke.

Krupke is a mean-spirited but dim police officer who represents the system that has rooted against the gang members for too long. When the Jets make fun of him in “Gee Officer Krupke,” it’s a moment of comic relief before the high drama that happens later.

If anyone can draw out the comedy even while being the butt of the joke, Reilly can. At this point, we can’t imagine anyone else.

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Spielberg needs to call these people immediately. Our hearts depend on it.