The pair are working up Rita Moreno: The Girl Who Decided to Go For It (w/t) for PBS and its Thirteen strand. The film, which will premiere in 2020, will explore the Puerto Rican actor’s 70-year career and will feature interviews with Moreno, Lear, Miranda, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Morgan Freeman, Whoopi Goldberg, Eva Longoria, Justina Machado, Terrence McNally and Chita Rivera.
It is produced by Norman Lear’s Act III Productions in association with Maramara and executive producer Miranda.
It will explore how she went from being born into poverty on a Puerto Rican farm, eventually immigrated to New York City and became the first Latina actress to win an Academy Award for her role as Anita in West Side Story. It will discover how she managed to deal with pernicious Hollywood sexism and sexual abuse, a toxic relationship with Marlon Brando, and an attempted suicide a year before she won her Oscar.
Lear, Miranda and Michael Kantor exec produce with Brent Miller as producer, Mariem Perez as producer and director and Ilia Velez as co-producer.
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“How I wish my Puerto Rican mother were alive to see this: her child’s story being celebrated by the likes of American Masters,” said Moreno. “It is not something she or I could ever have imagined. I’m astonished. I’m humbled.”
“When I learned from my producing partner, Brent Miller, that a film had not yet been made on Rita Moreno, I couldn’t believe it and suggested we make it together,” said executive producer Norman Lear. “There’s no woman more deserving of the American Masters stamp. Her talent, her activism, her life – all worthy of an audience. And her story, an inspiration to so many, is one that should live on forever.”
“Rita is La Reina. Punto. Full stop,” said executive producer Lin-Manuel Miranda. “Her life, talent and career is a masterclass in the American dream. It is about time that she takes her rightful place amongst her peers on American Masters.”
“Rita Moreno has won every major award – the Peabody, Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony – for good reason,” said Michael Kantor, American Masters series executive producer. “She is not just an American Master, she is an American treasure.”
“As a filmmaker, woman and Puerto Rican, I am proud to have the opportunity to tell Rita’s story,” added director Mariem Pérez Riera. “Her many victories in the face of prejudice are an inspiration to me. Hopefully, this film will give strength to the women all over the world, who today, face a similar fight towards equality.”
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