Actress Rachel Zegler, 22, shared a throwback clip of herself in ‘West Side Story’ on X (formerly Twitter), joking about the instruction she received from legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg, 76, while shooting one particular scene in the 2021 film, reports ‘People’ magazine.
“That time, it was my first day on set and Steven Spielberg said,‘whatever you do, don’t blink’”, she wrote, alongside footage of her in character as María, walking toward the camera wearing her white dance dress and red belt
“Imagine Janusz Kaminski putting a whole light in your face and you have to A) not blink, B) not tear up, and C) not die because it’s your first day on your first movie ever,” she continued in a follow-up tweet, referring to the movie’s cinematographer.
“This is why I won the Golden Globe. My eyeballs of steel,” she jokingly added in a third tweet.
As per ‘People’, when Spielberg decided to tackle a remake of the 1961 musical classic, he put out an open casting call to find a fresh face for the lead role of María. Zegler — who at the time was attending college and working part-time as a wedding singer — was chosen from among more than 30,000 applicants from around the world.
She earned rave reviews for her breakout performance in the 2021 movie, and took home a Golden Globe the following year for best actress in a comedy or musical. After her win, she posted an emotional reaction video on X showing a tear rolling down her face.
She also wrote of the coveted career accolade, “I got cast as María in West Side Story on 1/9/19. And I just won a Golden Globe for that same performance, on 1/9/22. Life is very strange.”