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Rita Moreno Talks WEST SIDE STORY Remake, Her New Documentary and More on AWARDS CHATTER Podcast

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Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It will on on PBS on October 5, 2021.

On Tuesday, October 5 (9 pm), PBS will air American Masters - Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It. Over a career spanning more than 70 years, Rita Moreno defied both her humble upbringing and relentless racism to become a celebrated and award-winning actor. American Masters - Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It explores the star's rich, decades-long career using vérité footage of Moreno today, archival footage of her roles and appearances, reenactments of her childhood, animation and interviews with Moreno, those close to her and performers she influenced.

The living legend stops by The Hollywood Reporter's Awards Chatter podcast to chat about her life in the industry. Listen to the full interview below!

Read BroadwayWorld's review of the film here.

Born into poverty on a Puerto Rican farm, Moreno and her seamstress mother immigrated to New York City when Moreno was five years old. After studying dance and performing on Broadway, Moreno was cast as any ethnic minority the Hollywood studios needed filled: Polynesian, Native American, Egyptian and more. Despite becoming the first Latina actress to win an Academy Award for her role as Anita in "West Side Story" (1961), the studios continued to offer Moreno lesser roles as stereotypical ethnic minorities, ignoring her proven talent.

Beyond the racism she experienced as a Latina actor, American Masters - Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It explores the lesser-known struggles Moreno faced on her path to stardom, including pernicious Hollywood sexism and sexual abuse, a toxic relationship with Marlon Brando and an attempted suicide a year before she won her Oscar. The documentary also revisits her notable roles, including The Electric Company (PBS), the Broadway and feature film version of "The Ritz," Oz and, most recently, One Day at a Time. The documentary demonstrates Moreno's talent and resilience as she broke barriers, paved the way for new generations of artists by refusing to be pigeonholed and fought for Latinx representation in a variety of genres.

The film world premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2021 and had a successful theatrical run.

Immediately following the documentary's premiere, American Masters and VOCES co-present Lights, Camera, Acción, a short documentary directed by Ben DeJesus. Lights, Camera, Acción is a celebration of the incredible impact Latinos have made in Hollywood - past, present and future, with a focus on the exciting new wave of talent that is blazing their own trail in the industry. Featuring prominent Latinx voices in film and television, this special captures the candid perspectives of talent from in front of and behind the camera, as they share their personal journeys and outlook on the future. Included are actors Edward James Olmos, John Leguizamo, Eva Longoria, Jimmy Smits, Gina Torres, Justina Machado and Xolo Maridueña (Cobra Kai); showrunners Tanya Saracho (Vida), Peter Murrieta (Mr. Iglesias) and Marvin Lemus (Gentefied), and more.

Now in its 35th season on PBS, American Masters was recently nominated for two Primetime Emmy® Awards. The series illuminates the lives and creative journeys of our nation's most enduring artistic giants-those who have left an indelible impression on our cultural landscape-through compelling, unvarnished stories. Setting the standard for documentary film profiles, the series has earned widespread critical acclaim and 28 Emmy Awards - including 10 for Outstanding Non-Fiction Series and five for Outstanding Non-Fiction Special - 14 Peabodys, three Grammys, two Producers Guild Awards, an Oscar, and many other honors. To further explore the lives and works of more than 250 masters past and present, the American Masters website offers full episodes, film outtakes, filmmaker interviews, the American Masters Podcast, educational resources, digital original series and more. The series is a production of The WNET Group.

Watch the trailer here:


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