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Rita Moreno Has Her Real-Life Grandson To Thank For Her Role In Fast X

For over 70 years, Rita Moreno has captivated audiences through theater, film, and television with a wide range of charismatic performances. Her energetic and impassioned performance as Anita in 1961's Hollywood adaptation of the Broadway sensation "West Side Story," saw her become the first Latina actor to win an Academy Award (via Playbill). Moreno continued to act in all three mediums to the present day; she joined Steven Spielberg's 2021 version of "West Side Story," which corrected some of the diversity mistakes in the original film.

Moreno's acting choices have always been multidimensional, with roles in intense dramas, such as Sister Peter Marie Reimondo on HBO's prison drama "Oz," to lightweight comedies that allowed her to spread her charms, such as Lydia Riera on Netflix and Pop's family sitcom "One Day at a Time." Never a performer to lean toward action movies, that is all about to change with her part as Dom Toretto's (Vin Diesel) grandmother Abuela in the upcoming "Fast X." If you are wondering what led the legendary actor to the high-octane "Fast & Furious" movie franchise, her grandson was instrumental in making it happen.

Moreno's grandson suggested the actor should play Dom's grandmother

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight at the premiere of "80 For Brady," in which Rita Moreno co-starred, her grandson Justin Fisher spoke with the news program about his grandmother's participation in the upcoming "Fast X." The actor shared that both he and Vin Diesel "caught up and grabbed drinks after the event, and he's so fond of my grandma." Fisher then commented on the new film in the franchise and how his grandmother would fit well into it.

He continued, "I told him, 'You should work with her. You should have her be your grandma, have her slap you upside the head. Have her have a little tone, because you know her, it's all tone.'" Rita Moreno, who was with Justin Fisher during the interview, did not hint as to whether or not her character in the movie would get behind the wheel of a car. But she did share her astonishment at the feature film.

Diesel also told ET that having Moreno come on board for the movie was a testament to the pioneering trail she paved for Latinx actors over the last half-century and beyond. He compared her to one of his other heroes, Sidney Poitier, who also made film history in matters of diversity and inclusion in the 1960s.

"Fast X" premieres on May 19.