A new trailer for the new “West Side Story” movie, starring Clifton native Rachel Zegler, was released this week. Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the 1957 musical is scheduled to hit theaters in December.

Rachel was selected to play the role of Maria, beating out a reported 30,000 other hopefuls to snag the starring role. The Jersey girl is a graduate of Immaculate Conception High School in Lodi, where, as you might expect, she starred in various stage productions of shows like “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast.”

She told Vogue that landing the role of Maria forced her to postpone her education, “I remember sending an email to the head of admissions at Montclair State University saying, ‘I know this sounds like a lie, but this is what happened, and this is why I can’t attend.’”

The Colombian-American actress added that the movie is “a beautiful display of Latin joy and the way that young Latin girls deserve to see themselves—dancing around in pretty dresses and singing about loving themselves. It’s something that’s mattered so much to me, being Latina—singing ‘I Feel Pretty’ and meaning it. I hope that young people everywhere will know that their features are gorgeous and their culture is beautiful. I think that’s what it’s meant to my family.”

West Side Story is not the only character Rachel will be bringing to the silver screen; earlier this year it was announced that she had been cast as Snow White in the live action retelling of the Disney classic.

You can watch the new trailer here:

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

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