Once again, grown-ups are throwing fits about a kids’ movie.
More than six months before it’s set to hit theaters, Disney’s live-action “Snow White” has angered internet trolls. The fantasy film is a reimagining of the studio’s 1937 animated musical “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” this time starring Rachel Zegler (“West Side Story”) as the titular princess and Gal Gadot (“Wonder Woman”) as the evil queen.
Despite playing a fairy-tale character who is entirely fictional, Zegler has been attacked by keyboard warriors who don’t like that she’s Latina or that she has lightly criticized the original film.
Here’s what you need to know about the dopey outrage around “Snow White” (in theaters March 22, 2024):
‘It was really juicy’:Gal Gadot enjoys ‘messy’ superspy life and being an Evil Queen
What is the racist backlash to ‘Snow White’ movie star Rachel Zegler?
Zegler, a New Jersey-born actress of Colombian and Polish descent, is a fast-rising star with roles in the upcoming “Paddington in Peru” and “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.” Her casting as Snow White was announced in 2021, and predictably sparked backlash from the same people who hated that a young Black woman (Halle Bailey) played Ariel in Disney’s live-action “The Little Mermaid.”
Detractors have complained that Zegler isn’t right for the character, saying that in the original Brothers Grimm fairy tale, Snow White is described as being “white as snow.” Zegler, 22, addressed her casting in a Variety interview with actor Andrew Garfield early last year.
“You don’t normally see Snow Whites that are of Latin descent, even though Snow White is really a big deal in Spanish-speaking countries,” Zegler said. “Blanca Nieves is a huge icon whether you’re talking about the Disney cartoon or just different iterations and the Grimm fairy tale and all the stories that come with it. But you don’t particularly see people who look like me or are me playing roles like that.”
What are Rachel Zegler’s controversial comments about the original ‘Snow White?’
Online bullies have also taken issue with Zegler’s past comments about Snow White. In a recently resurfaced Extra TV interview from last September, Zegler said it’s “weird” how the cartoon prince “stalks” Snow White. She elaborated that this new version is “not about the love story at all.”
“It’s no longer 1937,” Zegler told Variety last fall. “She’s not going to be saved by the prince, and she’s not going to be dreaming about true love; she’s going to be dreaming about becoming the leader she knows she can be and that her late father told her that she could be if she was fearless, fair, brave and true.”
Disney purists have also whined that the new movie is “man-hating,” asking why Snow White needs to be a “girl boss.” Others say Zegler is ungrateful after she told Entertainment Weekly that she only watched the original film one time as a child because it scared her. Some people came to Zegler’s defense, saying that casting the new “Snow White” isn’t about who’s the “bigger fan” of the character.
Zegler responded to the vitriol last month in a post on X (formerly Twitter), accompanied by childhood photos of her dressed as Disney princesses, including Snow White. “Extremely appreciative of the love I feel from those defending me online, but please don’t tag me in the nonsensical discourse about my casting,” Zegler wrote.
Why do people say the live action ‘Snow White’ is ‘woke’?
Last year, “Game of Thrones” star Peter Dinklage criticized Disney for retelling a “backward story” about dwarves. The studio responded in a statement, “To avoid reinforcing stereotypes from the original animated film, we are taking a different approach with these seven characters and have been consulting with members of the dwarfism community.”
Production photos leaked last month that appear to show a diverse group of actors playing the reconceived characters, drawing even more ire online. Fox News commentator Tomi Lahren tweeted out a Daily Mail article with the headline “Snow White and the Seven … Politically-Correct Companions?”
“So they have one little person playing a dwarf to be more ‘politically correct?’ “ Lahren wrote. “So 6 other little people didn’t get the job or the check and somehow this is more ‘sensitive?’ “
David Hand, whose father was the one of original film’s directors, also expressed animosity toward the remake. Talking to The Telegraph in an interview published last week, Hand called the project a “disgrace,” saying his father and Walt Disney would “very much disagree with it.”
“I think Walt and he would be turning in their graves,” Hand said. Disney is “just so radical now. They change the stories, they change the thought process of the characters. They’re making up new woke things and I’m just not into any of that. I find it quite frankly a bit insulting (what) they may have done with some of these classic films.”