“He made me sweat out my 17th year on Earth”: Steven Spielberg Tortured DC Actress For A Whole Year Before Letting Her Work With Him

Steven Spielberg Tortured DC Actress For A Whole Year Before Letting Her Work With Him
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The journey to stardom is often paved with trials and tribulations, a sentiment echoed by Rachel Zegler, the star of Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. The acclaimed director, known for his meticulous approach, put Zegler through a grueling year-long process before she could finally work with him. This article delves into the details of this journey, offering a glimpse into Spielberg’s rigorous methods and Zegler’s unwavering determination.


The Marathon Audition and the Making of Rachel Zegler

Rachel Zegler Steven Spielberg
Rachel Zegler and Steven Spielberg

Rachel Zegler‘s audition process for the role of Maria in Spielberg’s West Side Story was nothing short of a marathon. Beginning on January 25th, 2018, and culminating on January 9th, 2019, Zegler found herself amidst 30,000 hopefuls vying for a role in the film. The process was intense, pushing Zegler to her limits, leading her to quip,

“He made me sweat out my 17th year on Earth.”

Despite the grueling process, she expressed gratitude for the opportunity, acknowledging the team effort involved in the casting process. This journey was not just about securing a role but also about personal growth and resilience as she navigated the challenges and emerged stronger.


Also Read: Shazam 2 Star Rachel Zegler Slams Critics for “Unnecessary, Insensitive” Negative Reviews: “Seems like it’s cool to hate fun these days”

From Lincoln Center to the Heatwave

Rachel Zegler West Side Story
Rachel Zegler in West Side Story

Following the auditions, Zegler, and other candidates were put through a four-day intensive at Lincoln Center, where they met the creative team. This was followed by dance rehearsals, where she, initially the weakest dancer, improved significantly under the guidance of dance captain Harrison Cole.

The filming process was not without its challenges, including shooting during a heatwave and Steven Spielberg‘s perfectionism, which led to the reshooting of the One Hand, One Heart scene due to lighting issues. These experiences gave Zegler a deeper understanding of filmmaking and the dedication required to bring a character to life on screen.


Also Read: ‘Doesn’t sound like something a little kid would like’: Snow White Actor Rachel Zegler Claims Original Movie Scared Her So Much She Didn’t Watch it For 17 Years

The Impact of West Side Story

West Side Story
A till from West Side Story

The making of West Side Story profoundly impacted the cast members, who took immense pride in being part of the project. The involvement of Leonard Bernstein’s family and Stephen Sondheim added to the film’s authenticity. Sondheim’s advice to Zegler about the importance of confidence for a young performer resonated deeply with her. The film, a testament to Spielberg’s meticulousness and the cast’s dedication, is a beacon of perseverance and artistic excellence.

Also Read: Hunger Games Prequel Casts West Side Story Star Rachel Zegler in Lead Role


As Zegler reflects on her journey, she carries with her the lessons learned, the friendships forged, and the pride of being part of a film that is as much about diversity and authenticity as it is about love and rivalry.

Source: YouTube


Written by Hikithe Achumi

Articles Published: 151

Hikithe Achumi is a Marvel Comics and MCU enthusiast with 5 years of content writing experience. With a background in Journalism and Digital Media.