Rita Moreno Says 'West Side Story' Fans Are 'In for Some Surprises' With the Remake (Exclusive)

Moreno reunited with her original co-stars to mark the movie's 60th anniversary.

West Side Story will soon be returning to theaters in Steven Spielberg's hotly anticipated remake, and Rita Moreno, who starred in the original and returns in a new role in the remake, says fans are "in for some surprises."

Moreno joined her original West Side Story co-stars, Russ Tamblyn and George Chakiris, for TCM Classic Film Fest's virtual screening to celebrate the film's 60th anniversary, and teased what's to come in the newest version. ET has an exclusive first look at their reunion.

"The part that I play is based on Doc," Moreno says of her role in the remake, referring to the elderly drugstore owner played by Ned Glass in the 1961 film. "Except [I play] Doc's widow, Valentina."

"So, you're in for some surprises, because there are things that are done in this movie that weren't in the original, that should have," she continues, adding that when she saw some of the changes, she thought, "Oh my god, they're doing that, huh?"

Rita Moreno and George Chakiris at the 1962 Oscars. (Getty Images)

Moreno won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Anita in the original film, while Chakiris -- who played her on-screen boyfriend and leader of the Sharks gang, Bernardo -- took home Best Supporting Actor. West Side Story won 10 Oscars in total, including Best Picture.

"When I first heard about [the remake] and Steven Spielberg [directing], I thought, 'He's going to do something wonderful,'" Chakiris says. "He's a wonderful director and he's made some incredible movies. And I absolutely expect the he will do something wonderful and that I'll love what I see him do."

"The only thing that I think is nice to remember is that he had an incredible template to work from, to make his film," Chakiris continues, explaining the importance, in his mind, of people remembering the impact and legacy of the original film. "I just think that what proceeded him should be respected, that's all."

The TCM Classic Film Fest screening of West Side Story kicks off with the full special virtual reunion on Thursday, May 6, at 8 p.m. ET on Turner Classic Movies and HBO Max. Check out the full festival lineup and schedule.


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