Rita Moreno reveals her struggles while shooting 'America' during West Side Story
“I remember all of these words,” Rita Moreno confessed to Lola Ogennaike as she watched a clip from 1961’s West Side Story during PeopleTV’s new series, Couch Surfing. And that wasn’t all the EGOT-winner remembers about the classic film.
“At the very end of ‘America,’ all the girls get pushed up into the air and land on the boy’s shoulders,” Moreno recalled of filming the scene she described as “the most fabulous dance number in life.” “We had never rehearsed in our costumes until we went to actually film it. George’s suit was made of silk; my gown, my dress was made of silk. And my behind was broader than George [Chakiris]’s shoulder. Are you getting the picture? … I was trying to get one cheek there and I could not get it accomplished.”
Of course, Moreno eventually nailed it — but not before creating a little frustration on set.
“We must’ve done about 25 takes. I think those kids were ready to just kill me,” she said. “I could not keep my ass up on his shoulder… I finally dug this foot into his back as hard as I could. I probably hurt him forever.”
Steven Spielberg might want to take notes before he reunites The Sharks and the Jets.