Actress-singer-dancer Rita Moreno has won all the major awards and then some. But, now she’s getting something extra special: A documentary about her life.
Tentatively titled “Rita Moreno: The Girl Who Decided to Go For It,” the televised documentary will, of course, cover the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony winner’s career. But it will also focus on less headline-grabbing moments, such as her experiences with Hollywood’s sexist and racist culture – including her toxic relationship with Marlon Brando – and her attempted suicide the year before she became the first Latina actress to win an Academy Award.
“The Girl Who Decided to Go For It” will air as part of the PBS American Masters series in 2020 with fellow Puerto Rican Mariem Pérez Riera directing.
“How I wish my Puerto Rican mother were alive to see this: her child’s story being celebrated by the likes of American Masters,” Moreno, who immigrated to New York City at age 5 after she was born into poverty on a Puerto Rican farm, said in a statement as part of a release provided to CNN. “It is not something she or I could ever have imagined. I’m astonished. I’m humbled.”
Much of this project seems kismet. Executive producers include Broadway game-changer Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is also New York-bred with familial ties to Puerto Rico, and TV legend Norman Lear. Moreno currently stars in the reboot of Lear’s “One Day at a Time,” which recently moved from Netflix to Pop Network. Her Grammy Award is for best children’s album, which she received in 1973 as part of the cast of the PBS series “The Electric Company.”
“There’s no woman more deserving of the American Masters stamp,” Lear said in the same release. “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.”
Miranda added that “Rita is La Reina. Punto. Full stop” and that “her life, talent and career is a masterclass in the American dream.”
In addition to Lear and Miranda, “The Girl Who Decided to Go For It” will include interviews with friends, admirers and former collaborators like Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Morgan Freeman, Mitzi Gaynor, Whoopi Goldberg, Eva Longoria, Justina Machado, Terrence McNally and Chita Rivera.