Rachel Zegler on West Side Story, Shazam 2 and White Latina Privilege

Rachel Zegler on West Side Story, Shazam 2 and White Latina Privilege

Rachel Zegler saw the first cut of “West Side Story” in September 2021, with co-stars Ansel Elgort, Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez and Mike Faist. When director Steven Spielberg surprised them by showing up at the end of the credits, he was greeted with tears and gratitude.

The latest episode of Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast features 20-year-old Zegler whose career is taking off. Rising star discusses white Latina privilege, the Oscar buzz she received for her performance, and her upcoming roles in superhero sequel ‘Shazam 2’ and Disney’s live-action version from “Snow White”. Listen below!

Discovered by Steven Spielberg among 30,000 hopefuls, Zegler landed the coveted role of Maria in the 1961 Oscar-winning best picture remake. In this remake, Zegler and Elgort play Maria and Tony, whose ill-fated romance signals the fires of rivalry. bitter between local street gangs, the Sharks and the Jets. The cast also includes DeBose as Anita, Alvarez as Bernardo, and Faist as Riff. Rita Moreno, who won the Oscar for her performance as Anita in the 1961 film adaptation of the musical, appears in the remake in a new role and served as executive producer. The remake was written by Tony Kushner and marks Spielberg’s first musical feature film.

Zegler is unquestionably the biggest star of the year, not only in what she presents in her iconic duets (like “Tonight” and “One Hand, One Heart”), but also in her contagious ownership of the camera. , best displayed in the lighter “I Feel Pretty”, which flaunts her acting range. If nominated for Best Actress, she would be the youngest Latina nominee in history. She would also join the few actresses who landed names for their early roles, including Catalina Sandino Moreno (“Maria Full of Grace”) and Yalitiza Aparicio (“Roma”).

“West Side Story” is distributed by 20th Century Studios and is in theaters now.

Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast is hosted by Clayton Davis, Michael Schneider, Jazz Tangcay and Jenelle Riley and is your one-stop listener for lively conversations about the best films. Michael Schneider is producing and Drew Griffith is editing. Each week, “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; And much more. Subscribe through Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or wherever you download podcasts. New episodes are released every week.