West Side Story Cast and Character Guide: Who Plays Who in the 2021 Movie?

The film hits theaters Dec. 10

20th Century Studios

A new version of “West Side Story” hits theaters this month, but not just any version – an update directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Tony Kushner. 


The iconic 1957 Steven Sondheim musical was first adapted for the big screen in 1961, and that version won 10 Oscars including Best Picture. For this new iteration, Spielberg has maintained the 1950s New York City setting and the main beats of the plot – a Romeo and Juliet-esque story of star-crossed lovers from rival families.


But obviously the cast is different this time around (save for one incredible exception). So who plays who in the new “West Side Story”? Your complete cast and character guide is below, ahead of the film’s Dec. 10 release exclusively in theaters.

Rachel Zegler as Maria


20-year-old actress Rachel Zegler, a relatively newcomer, fills the role of Maria, a young Puerto Rican girl who falls in love with Tony.

Ansel Elgort as Tony


Ansel Elgort, best known for roles in films like “Baby Driver” and “The Fault in Our Stars,” fills the role of Tony a former member of the gang known as the Jets.

Ariana DeBose as Anita


Ariana DeBose, a Tony-nominated actress with Broadway cred who also appeared in the Netflix musical “The Prom,” plays the role of Anita who is Maria’s best friend. Rita Moreno played the role in the 1961 film and won an Oscar for her performance.

David Alvarez as Bernardo


Tony-winning actor David Alvarez, who appeared in Broadway’s “Billy Elliot,” plays Bernardo, the leader of the Sharks gang, older brother of Maria and boyfriend of Anita.

Mike Faist as Riff


Mike Faist, who starred on Broadway in “Dear Evan Hansen,” plays the role of Riff, the leader of the Jets and Tony’s best friend.

Rita Moreno as Valentina


Rita Moreno returns for Spielberg’s version of “West Side Story” in a new role that was written specifically for the film and for her. Valentina takes the place of Doc in the original version, and serves as a mentor character to the teenagers who is married to a white man.

Brian d’Arcy James as Officer Krupke


Veteran of both stage and screen, Brian d’Arcy James plays Officer Krupke, a beat cop frequently running into both gangs.

Corey Stoll as Lieutenant Schrank


“Ant-Man” and “House of Cards” actor Corey Stoll fills the role of Lieutenant Schrank, a tough detective.

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