It’s a safe bet unknown New Jersey high schooler Rachel Zegler who recently landed the lead in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” film is probably not going to be dubbed as an “unknown” for long. The 17-year-old rising star has already received some impressive celebrity shout outs for being selected out of thousands of hopefuls to play the iconic role of Maria in the film.
Among Zegler’s famous admirers are actor-singer Darren Criss, who’s recently enjoyed a fantastic awards ceremony run, winning Emmy, Golden Globe, and Critics’ Choice Awards for his critically-acclaimed role in “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.”
"Nah, me neither. So pumped for you, had to troll your twitter before it blew the f up. Buckle up baby, shit's about to go bananas... CONGRATS!”
Actress Lily Collins, daughter of music legend Phil Collins, also sent Zegler an enthusiastic message saying “Couldn’t have found a better Maria for West Side Story!! Your voice is unreal, I can’t stop watching this. Congrats and can’t wait to see it. Get ready girl! @rachelzegler.”
Zegler also received support on Twitter from “Jersey Boys” actor Erich Bergen, Zach Braff and Chris McCarrell. See Darren Criss and Lily Collins’ Twitter posts below.
Zegler’s story almost reads like a fairy tale dream-come-true. She sent in a video to an open casting call and scored the lead in one of the most hotly-anticipated musical remakes in a long time. Not to mention Steven Spielberg is a legendary director and to get cast in his movie, in such an iconic role, for her film debut is off-the-charts unreal!
Zegler currently has over 85,000 subscribers on YouTube and she’s posted some incredible covers over the past three years. She has a picture of Freddie Mercury as her Twitter cover photo and credits him as one of her biggest musical influences. She’s posted lots of Queen covers, like “Bohemian Rhapsody" and “Somebody to Love,” as well as covers by pop superstars like Ariana Grande.
The Colombian-American teen describes herself as a "theatre kid" on YouTube and has also posted lots of Broadway covers like “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables, which she sings in her bedroom with earbuds. (Check it out above.)
Spielberg’s “West Side Story” will also star Ansel Elgort (“The Fault in Our Stars,” “Baby Driver”) as Tony. The forbidden love Tony and Maria share is one of the most iconic tragic love stories of all time. The famous fictional couple is like a ‘50s-era Romeo and Juliet. It will be interesting to see the story told through Spielberg’s eyes and Elgort and Zegler’s voices.
The “West Side Story” movie remake is slated to start filming in this summer.
"Did YOU get cast in that new West Side Story?"— Darren Criss (@DarrenCriss) January 15, 2019
"Nah, me neither."
So pumped for you, had to troll your twitter before it blew the f up. Buckle up baby, shit's about to go bananas... CONGRATS! 😊