EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Ansel Elgort & Rachel Zegler recall HILARIOUS West Side Story audition with Nicki Minaj twist

In an EXCLUSIVE chat with Pinkvilla, Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler recounted their funny West Side Story audition, which featured the iconic 'Maria' fire escape sequence and Nicki Minaj's Chun-Li MV. Watch their hilarious interview below.

Updated on Dec 10, 2021 02:22 PM IST  |  1.1M
Ansel Rachel Nicki WSS Audition
Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler play doomed lovers, Tony and Maria, in West Side Story.
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We're just a day away from the highly-awaited release of West Side Story as celebrated Oscar-winning filmmaker Steven Spielberg brings back the iconic musical to the 21st century. West Side Story stars Ansel Elgort and newcomer Rachel Zegler as doomed lovers, Tony and Maria, whose blossoming romance is torn apart due to the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks.

Pinkvilla had the humble opportunity to have an EXCLUSIVE candid chat with Ansel and Rachel, where they spoke candidly about their respective West Side Story auditions, especially when it was in front of Spielberg. To be directed by Steven Spielberg is an honour in itself, but I assume to be directed by Steven Spielberg in a musical is a whole another ballgame. When it came to Zegler and her momentous Steven Spielberg audition, who was chosen to play Maria amidst thousands more auditions, Rachel recounted, "Oh my! I mean, yeah! [laughs] I'm trying to think of something that's like wildly interesting, but I felt like my whole audition process was wildly interesting and I actually ended up meeting Steven's dog before I met Steven. He brought his dog to the audition and I was busy nervously petting the dog when I saw his feet walk up to me and then I looked, it was like a movie moment where I looked up and he was just looking down at me and he was like, 'You must be Rachel.' [chuckles]"

Zegler continued, "I shook his hand and it was just unreal, but it was such a cool experience and we spent the next four days collaborating on different things. It was a work session for West Side Story, for the audition and it was just wild. So I don't have like a super weird story [laughs] [Ansel asks, "I mean, didn't you send in your audition through a email? The first tape?"] Yes, I had no representation. So I sent my first tape through a Gmail account that I didn't think would ever get back to me and then it did and... [Ansel chimes in, "It got back to you."] [both laugh]"

As for Elgort, The Fault In Our Stars star recalled, "Yeah, I mean... [Rachel chimes in, "You were in the hospital before you came into..."] Yeah, I went to the ER right after my first audition because, yeah, but nothing was really wrong with me, to be honest. [both laugh] I think I was just nervous or something. [laughs] No, it was a very, it was so 'pinch me' the whole time and when I was on the fire escape, about to sing Maria, that was like my audition, Janusz Kamiński was there, the cinematographer, who ended up shooting the movie too."

Talking about how Nicki Minaj was somehow added to the mix, Ansel quipped about his West Side Story audition, "And he, right before the take, we were talking a little bit. And then he said, 'Oh! You went to LaGuardia, right? Because Nicki Minaj went to LaGuardia and I just shot her music video.' So he's saying like, 'Rolling,' and the rolling cameras and he pulls up a Nicki Minaj video [shows his phone] and starts sticking it... [Rachel enthusiastically chimes in, "And he started showing us! He started showing us Chun-Li, like!"] He's showing me Nicki [both laugh]... And they were like, 'Roll camera,' and they were like, 'Alright, and...' and I'm like 'Wait! Are we watching a Nicki Minaj video? [Rachel chimes in, "Where do I look? Oh my God, I forgot about that! He kept... he was like insisting, he was like, 'You know Chun-Li!' and I was like, 'I have no idea what you're talking about!'] [both laugh] Like, we really want this role. We really want to work with you. He's like, 'I'm a little nervous.'"

Watch Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler's hilarious interview with Pinkvilla for West Side Story below:

What a funnily memorable audition story, indeed!

Are you excited to see Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler in West Side Story? Share your excitement with Pinkvilla in the comments section below.

Meanwhile, West Side Story releases on December 10. If you're curious to know what to expect from West Side Story, then head on to our ALSO READ link below to read Pinkvilla's review.

ALSO READ: West Side Story Review: Steven Spielberg's effervescent homage to the cult musical is a triumphant celebration

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