Fans of "West Side Story" just got a special first look at the new film ahead of its December release.
In a Vanity Fair exclusive, director and co-producer Steven Spielberg shared his hopes for his retelling of the famous story, and first images from the highly-anticipated remake were revealed.
Spielberg told Vanity Fair that the classic tale "is not only a product of its time, but that time has returned, and it’s returned with a kind of social fury."
"I really wanted to tell that Puerto Rican, Nuyorican experience of basically the migration to this country and the struggle to make a living, and to have children, and to battle against the obstacles of xenophobia and racial prejudice," he added.
Rita Moreno, who won an Academy Award for best supporting actress for playing Anita in the 1961 version of "West Side Story," will take on a new role in the remake.
She is playing Valentina, the widow of Doc -- the store owner in the original film -- in Spielberg's project. She is also an executive producer of the film.
She told Vanity Fair that Spielberg and screenwriter Tony Kushner “really wanted to right some … should I say wrongs? I don’t know if that’s … yes, that’s fair, because the  film had a lot of things that were wrong with it, aside from the fact that it had a lot of things that were very right."
The 1961 version of the film garned criticism because white actors covered themselves in makeup to play actors of Puerto Rican descent. She told the Associated Press in early 2019 that she did not like when makeup artists darkened her skin on the set.
"Puerto Rico was colonized by the French, the Dutch and the Spanish and so we are many colors," she said. "I am [Puerto Rican] and I really resented it when they put very dark makeup on me because that's not my color. I thought the Sharks should have all of their own natural colors. Some were dark, some were copper skin, some were fair."
The actress emphasized that the updated version of the film contains a much more diverse casting. "That’s what they were trying to fix and ameliorate, and I think they have done an incredible job," she told Vanity Fair.
"There was so much interaction between the cast wanting to be able to commit to the Puerto Rican experience," Spielberg said. "They all represent, I think, a diversity, both within the Puerto Rican, Nuyorican community as well as the broader Latinx community. And they took that seriously."
He told Vanity Fair that he believes at least 20 of the 33 Puerto Rican characters in the film are Puerto Rican or of Puerto Rican descent.
Photos from Steven Spielberg's 'West Side Story' remake released originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com