New York Film Locations

West Side Story’s Rachel Zegler

7 May 2023

Next month sees otsoNY publish the full list of film locations from the 2021 remake of the musical romantic drama, “West Side Story”. Directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg from a screenplay by Tony Kushner, it is the second feature-length adaptation of the 1957 stage musical of the same name, and stars Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler in her film debut with Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, and Rita Moreno in supporting roles. Moreno, who starred in the 1961 film adaptation, also serves as an executive producer alongside Kushner.

West Side Story 2021 Film Poster

The film originally entered development in 2014 at 20th Century Fox; Kushner began writing the screenplay in 2017. In January 2018, Spielberg was hired and casting began that September. Justin Peck choreographed the dance sequences. Principal photography occurred in Harlem and other Manhattan locations and in Flatlands, Brooklyn in New York City in July 2019. There were ten days of shooting in Paterson, New Jersey, where an outdoor set was built, in August. Filming also took place in Newark and other parts of Essex County, New Jersey. It wrapped on September 27th for a total of 79 days of shooting. All of the sets were constructed at a warehouse at Steiner Studios.

Scene from the 2021 version of West Side Story

Rachel Zegler

American actress and singer, Zegler first came to prominence with her film debut playing Maria Vasquez in the Steven Spielberg 2021 musical adaptation “West Side Story” for which she won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress ‘Motion Picture Comedy or Musical’. She also portrayed Anthea in the DC Superhero film “Shazam! Fury of the Gods”. Born in Hackensack, New Jersey in 2001 to parents Gina and Craig Zegler, she was named after the fictional character Rachel Green from the TV show Friends. Raised in Clifton, New Jersey, where she attended St. Philip the Apostle Preparatory School and later the Catholic all-girls college-preparatory Immaculate Conception High School, where she graduated in June 2019.

Actress Rachel Zegler

Zegler began her career starring in several musicals while attending the Immaculate Conception High School, including playing Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Ariel in The Little Mermaid, Dorothy Brock in 42nd Street, and Princess Fiona in Shrek The Musical. For all four performances, she received Metro Award nominations in the Actress in a Leading Role category. Her other roles include Serena in Legally Blonde, Cosette in Les Misérables, and Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Actress Rachel Zegler

In January 2018, director Steven Spielberg posted an open casting call via Twitter for a new film adaptation of “West Side Story”. Zegler, then 16 years old, responded to the casting call tweets with videos of herself singing ‘Tonight’ and ‘I Feel Pretty’; she had performed the role at the Bergen Performing Arts Center in 2017. Zegler was selected from over 30,000 applicants for the role of Maria, marking her film debut.

Actress Rachel Zegler

Upcoming projects for Zegler include “Snow White” alongside Gal Gadot as the Evil Queen in a live-action film adaptation of the 1937 animated Disney film, which is scheduled to be released in 2024. Zegler will voice the lead character in animated musical film “Spellbound”, directed by Vicky Jenson. She plays heroine Lucy Gray Baird for the upcoming film adaptation of the “Hunger Games” prequel “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”. Zegler is also set to appear in Kyle Mooney’s directorial film debut “Y2K” produced by A24.


All images that appear on the site are copyrighted to their respective owners and claims no credit for them unless otherwise noted. If you own the rights to any of the images and do not wish them to appear on the site please contact us, and they will be promptly removed.


2009-2024 | Film Locations | Picture Gallery | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | Contact

Donations for hosting