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'West Side Story' Movie Hits Red Carpet In New York City

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- New York City rolled out the red carpet Monday for the premiere of the "West Side Story" movie.

The film was directed by Steven Spielberg and stars newcomer Rachel Zegler, from Hackensack, New Jersey, as Maria.

"I can't believe this is my life. I really, I can't, every day. I'm, like, looking around and there's this huge poster of my face, and I'm like, 'Who is that?'" Zegler said.

The movie also stars Ariana DeBose as Anita.

"I fervently believed that my interpretation and by virtue of being a Black woman, I had something to offer this role that the world potentially had never seen," DeBose said.

PHOTOS: 'West Side Story' Film Premiere In New York City

As CBS2's Mary Calvi reports, Spielberg was among those at Monday night's premiere. Also attending was Rita Moreno, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of Anita in the 1961 film version and has a featured role in the new movie.

"I asked Rita if she'd come on to play Valentina because she was the best human being on the planet to play this role, and in the process of getting to know Rita, I realized what a value she would be to the community as we've cast all Latinx actors to portray the girls and the boys of the Sharks," Spielberg said.

Zegler spoke about how the film has been updated all these years later.

"The reality of 1957 Manhattan was not a good one for people who came from low income communities. So the conversation about gentrification has been opened up vastly. That's such an important part of our film," she said.

The cast also paid tribute to the lyricist for the original stage production and film, the late Stephen Sondheim. He died Friday at the age of 91.

"It is very sad that he can't be here tonight, but the good news is that his work will long, long, long last and will be an inspiration for so many. It certainly is for me," said actor Brian d'Arcy James, who portrays Officer Krupke in the movie.

"West Side Story" opens December 10 in theaters nationwide.

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