There's a cast for us...
After Monday’s announcement that Ansel Elgort has been tapped to play Tony in Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story, we know something’s coming, something good…but we got to think if we were to cast this thing tonight (tonight), who would be our dream players? Because Spielberg launched a nationwide casting call, we’re willing to bet the film will feature some fresh-faced newcomers, but here’s who we’d like to see be a Jet (or a Shark) until their last dying day — and if Spielberg doesn’t work out, maybe director Ivo Van Hove can use their talents in the planned Broadway revival…
Camila Mendes as Maria
Maria is the Juliet to Tony’s Romeo – a young woman on the cusp of adulthood, discovering love and desire for the first time. She and Tony are idealistic enough to believe their love can conquer the darker forces in the world like racism, violence, and more. As the wealthy but impassioned Veronica on Riverdale, Camila Mendes has proved she can tackle a love story surrounded by darkness – and that she can sing to boot! She and Elgort are the same age and could potentially make for the perfect pairing to play the star-crossed lovers. Mendes will be feeling pretty soon if we have anything to say about it!
Anthony Ramos as Bernardo
After playing Riff in the West End production, George Chakiris earned an Oscar for his portrayal of Bernardo, the ill-fated leader of the Sharks and Maria’s brother. We can’t imagine anyone more perfect for this part than Anthony Ramos, who originated the roles of John Laurens/Philip Hamilton in Broadway’s Hamilton before branching out into film and TV roles on Will and Grace, She’s Gotta Have It, and A Star Is Born. Ramos has the singing and dancing chops for this demanding role, and his Puerto Rican roots make him the perfect fit for Bernardo — a man who is both caring brother and charismatic leader, a fighter ultimately just trying to claim some respect and dignity in a world that devalues him simply because of his heritage.
Gina Rodriguez as Anita
Let’s be honest, no one could ever be as perfect in the role of Anita as Rita Moreno. She won an Oscar for her performance, and Twitter has even suggested she simply reprise her role. But we can think of another young woman who possesses the same poise, playfulness, and inner fire in her onscreen roles – Jane the Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez. Rodriguez has long cited Moreno as an inspiration, and we know she’d bring the right amount of heart and cheekiness to this indelible supporting role. In her hands, we suspect “America” could be great again.
Noah Centineo as Riff
Riff is the wise-cracking leader of the Jets, always ready for a fight (or a dance), who believes in having his fellow Jets’ backs no matter what. He’s an antagonist in many ways, and yet, you have to empathize with him and his tragic fate – who better than the internet’s current favorite boyfriend, Noah Centineo? His easy, roguish charm plays well with Riff’s bad boy vibe, and his work in Camilla Cabello’s “Havana” music video proves he’s got some moves. We’d pledge “womb to tomb” for Centineo any day.
Ted Danson as Doc
Doc is a curmudgeonly source of wisdom, providing a haven to the mixed-up teens in his drugstore, and even trying to help Tony and Maria get out of town. As the unlikeliest helpful demon Michael on The Good Place and former bartender Sam on Cheers, Ted Danson has ample experience doling out life advice (while still inhabiting a moral grey area) from behind a counter. He’d bring the perfect blend of warmth and world-weariness to this role.
John C. Reilly as Officer Krupke
Officer Krupke is a symbol of the futility of the law when it comes to the systemic, divisive problems in this New York City neighborhood — and with “Gee, Officer Krupke” he’s also a comedic figure of ridicule. No one does sad sack and bumbling pomposity like John C. Reilly and this role is the perfect combo of both. Gee, John C. Reilly, krup you.
Maluma as Chino
Though Maluma has been a rising star since he started his career in 2010, his musical fame has been burning particularly bright after his 2018 MTV VMAs performance. We know he can sing and dance, so why not throw him into the deep end as an actor? Chino, the young man who Bernardo wishes Maria to marry, plays a small but vital role in the proceedings.
Sophia Lillis as Anybodys
With her short haircut and distinct air of vulnerability, Sophia Lillis is the perfect choice for Anybodys, a young tomboy desperate to be a part of the Jets and throw off society’s expectations for teenage girls in the 1950s. She played a wounded tomboy to perfection as young Camille in Sharp Objects, and proved she can run as the only gal pal in an all-male friend group in last year’s It, so we can’t wait to see what she might do in a slightly more mature role.