Rachel Zegler says debut in Spielberg’s West Side Story was a ‘baptism of fire’

·1-min read

Rachel Zegler said that her debut film role in Steven Spielberg’s 2021 adaptation of West Side Story was “definitely a baptism of fire”.

The 20 year-old actress said landing the role of Maria was “a dream come true” despite the lengthy audition process.

Speaking on The Graham Norton Show about filming, she said: “It’s so cool and unlike anything I could have imagined.

Graham Norton Show – London
The 20 year-old actress said landing the role of Maria was ‘a dream come true’ despite a lengthy audition process (Matt Crossick/ PA)

“It is definitely a baptism by fire.

“I’ve seen the film nine times and that is enough for me as I find it very hard seeing and hearing myself on screen, but I am very proud of what we did”.

She continued: “I manifested working on the film – I always had a picture of the original film in my locker at high school.

“30,000 people went for the role, and I had nine auditions – no job is worth that but this one was”.

Zegler added that the one thing she had requested from Spielberg after being offered the part was to still perform in her senior school musical production of Shrek, to which the Oscar-winning director agreed.

The young actress recently won a Golden Globe for her role in the adaptation of the 1957 stage production, exactly three years on from being cast.

The film was also named as best musical or comedy film at the 79th annual ceremony, which was low-key following a year of controversy.

The Graham Norton Show airs on Fridays on BBC One at 10.35pm and is available on BBC iPlayer.

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