In the latest issue of Vanity Fair, photographer Mark Seliger recreates scenes from the beloved 1961 musical classic West Side Story.
The end result, in my oh-so-humble opinion, is mixed. The images themselves are stunning: They are perfectly arranged and filled with vibrant colors. My problem is not with the photos themselves, so much as who’s in them: Camilla Belle and Jennifer Lopez.
Is this picky of me? Yes. Is this snotty of me? Most definitely. But remember, this is my oh-so-humble opinion. West Side Story. is one of my favorite movies so I don’t take recreations of it in any form lightly.
Some of the casting seems spot on. Rodrigo Santoro as Bernardo and Chris Evans as Riff seem like excellent choices. My problems are strictly with the female casting. The choice of Jennifer Lopez as Anita seems predictable and uninspired. Anita is feisty, sexy and hilarious, and I’m sorry JLo lovers, but to me, Mrs. Marc Anthony seems anything but.
Why not cast Lauren Velez from Dexter?
Or Sara Ramirez?
You know, someone with personality. Someone not in Gigli.
As for the casting of Camilla Belle as Maria, this just annoyed me. I love Natalie Wood. And yes, Natalie Wood herself, I shudder to say, was miscast as the original Maria. Maria is a Nuyorican girl, so to make her look “passably” Latina, the producers of West Side Story basically sprayed an “ethnic” tan on Natalie. Also, Natalie didn’t have a great set of lungs, so she lip-synched her songs. But that was the ’60s so you have to forgive a little. Now, however, it’s 2009 and I’m a lot less forgiving.
Yes, Camilla is Latina — she’s half Brazilian, so points for that, but she’s also terminally boring. I’m sorry, I said it: I just do not get this girl’s popularity. When acting, and apparently, when posing, she has the same facial expression.
Look at the photos! No matter what is going on she has the same exact expression: blankness! When she’s happy, when she’s sad, when she hears the world’s going to freeze over, when she suddenly inherits $3 billion, it’s the same freaking expression — no expression! Are you seriously telling me that they couldn’t find a better Maria? How about America Ferrera — a talented young Latina actress with curves and expressions?
JLo Anita, do us a favor: Go back to San Juan and take Camilla Maria with you! Hopefully Broadway’s revival will have more inspired casting.