Rita Moreno was “too young” to understand the “implications” of playing ethnic roles early in her career.
The ‘West Side Story’ actress, who won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Anita in the classic film, admitted even before her award-winning role that she was being typecast.
She told Closer US: “I was young and too inexperienced to miss the implications of [ethnic] roles like that. I just wanted to be a movie star. “
But for her star turn as Anita, the 89-year-old star admitted that she was “well aware” of what she was portraying with the role.
She added: “I’d say playing Anita in ‘West Side Story.’ [was the hardest] because he was very aware and sensitive that he was representing in an important way.
“That’s why I hardly do the film, because there was a letter at the beginning of ‘America’ that was so damaging to Puerto Rico.”
Rita also spoke about Hollywood at the time, noting that the stereotype of minorities turned the film industry into a “terrible time.”
She said, “It was a really terrible time for ethnic people. I played someone with dark skin even though I have light skin. I refused to speak with an accent again unless it was a really good role.”
The actress revealed that despite her success after ‘West Side Story’, she found herself out of a job and endured what she called the “most depressing” time of her life.
She explained: “After the Oscars, it wasn’t just the Oscars, I also won a Golden Globe, I couldn’t get a job.
“The few that they offered me were minor gang movies and some part as a coffee server for a Hispanic family. It was one of the most depressing moments of my life.”
Rita, who can be considered part of the EGOT club as an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony winner, will star in the upcoming remake of ‘West Side Story’, which is directed by Steven Spielberg and will be released just before Christmas. .
This time, Rita will be playing the new role of Valentina and she couldn’t be more excited.
She gushed: “One of the best experiences of all time awaits you. This is a great movie. It was an inspired story. It was probably one of the most exciting moments of my life.”