EXCLUSIVE: EGOT winner Rita Moreno has been cast in a starring role in the feature film The Prank, to be directed by Maureen Bharoocha (Golden Arm), opposite Connor Kalopsis (Outmatched, The Grinder) and Ramona Young (Never Have I Ever). Filming begins this month in and around Los Angeles.
The Prank follows two high school students who play a prank on their physics teacher, Mrs. Wheeler, played by Moreno. When she fails them on a test; they teach the imperious, demanding, insulting instructor a lesson by falsely accusing her of the murder of a missing student.
Other cast in The Prank includes Keith David, Meredith Salenger, Jonathan Kimmel, Nathan Janak and Kate Flannery.
The dark comedy is written by Rebecca Flinn-White & Zak White. Bharoocha was recently named IndieWire’s Rising Female Directors of 2020, was on HBO’s 2018 Director’s List, and was nominated for the SXSW 2020 Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Visionary Directing Award. Steven J. Wolfe / Sneak Preview Entertainment (500 Days of Summer, Twin Falls Idaho, Valley Girl) is producing with XRM Media financing. Michael Y. Chow (Passing, Dope, Sorry to Bother You) and Glenn Rigberg are EPs.
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“Rita Moreno is a force of nature and an icon who continues to redefine herself,” said Bharoocha. “Her brilliant comedic mind lends itself to the perfect ‘Mrs. Wheeler’, a character we have never seen her play, and one that will no doubt surprise audiences.”
Moreno has won an Oscar (West Side Story), a Tony (The Ritz), two Emmys (for her turns respectively in 1977 and 1978 on The Muppet Show and Rockford Files), and a Grammy ( Best Children’s Album for The Electric Company). Moreno has starred on Broadway and London’s West End, appeared in more than 40 feature films and has performed in numerous regional theaters, including her one-woman show, Life Without Makeup, at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. She recently co-starred in the critically acclaimed Latinx reimagining of Norman Lear’s classic sitcom One Day At A Time. Her documentary, Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It, produced by Lear, Lin Manuel Miranda and Brent Miller had its world debut at the Sundance Film Festival this year. The film, which was met with acclaim from critics and audiences alike, will have its television debut on PBS’ American Masters nationwide on Oct. 5.
Moreno also co-stars and is an executive producer of the Steven Spielberg remake of West Side Story, set to open no Dec. 10. Recipient of the Peabody Career Achievement Award and the Kennedy Center Honor for her lifetime contributions to American culture, she was also honored by her peers as the 50th recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. Moreno’s all-Spanish-language album, Una Vez Más, was produced by her good friend Emilio Estefan, and she is a New York Times bestselling author with her first book, Rita Moreno: A Memoir. Moreno has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush and the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama.
Moreno is repped by Innovative Artists and Bharoocha is repped by CAA and Grandview.