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'West Side Story' Stars Ariana DeBose & Rita Moreno Open Up About Anita's Assault Scene

'West Side Story' Stars Ariana DeBose & Rita Moreno Open Up About Anita's Assault Scene

One of the most talked about scenes in West Side Story is of Anita’s assault, and both Ariana DeBose, and original film Anita, Rita Moreno, are opening up about having it in the brand new film.

In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Rita and Ariana discuss how some of the aspects were changed, and the importance of showing it on the big screen.

Click inside to see what they shared…

Rita recalls filming the scene for the 1961 movie, describing it as an out of body experience due to her own past assault then.

“The only thing that was not at all natural was trying to save Anita’s life,” she says. “In that scene, I suddenly become Doc. I never could really get inside of the scene. I was never able to really nail it because every time I looked it wasn’t me [on the ground]. It was a difficult experience for me, doing it again in a very different role.”

Ariana added that acting the scene in the 2021 movie was a very meta experience, as the other Anita comes to help her.

“I tried to keep a sensible amount of like separation of church and state,” she adds. “Because it’s a hard job when you are stepping into something that has been portrayed so brilliantly, and they’re right there. I just played the truth. That’s all you really can do in those moments and react to what is there in the space.”

Ariana also shared that knowing of Rita‘s assault intensified the scene for her.

“I was very aware of Rita’s experience that she’s shared with the world,” she shared. “Now, having played the part, you never forget what it feels like. You never forget what it feels like to have that many bodies on top of you. It’s something that I think every Anita can connect over, but I don’t wish it on anyone.”

“These are wounds that never quite healed,” Rita added. “I thought I was fine, and then suddenly, out of the blue, I burst into this hysterical crying.”

West Side Story is out in theaters now. Find out how well it did at the box office this weekend.

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