Even though it’s still months away from its release, the new live-action Disney remake of Snow White is already causing controversy over its casting and updates to the story.
Starring newcomer Rachel Zegler, the movie has been the subject of growing discontent over the past weeks. Zegler is a nineteen-year-old Latina actress, and many have voiced their criticism over the traditional Snow White story being appropriated.
The recent backlash comes from an old interview in which Zegler claimed that the new Snow White remake will reflect a modern society loyal to its audience’s expectations. “It’s not 1937 anymore,” she said in the interview.
This statement, in particular, has angered many viewers who are expecting a faithful remake of the iconic 1937 version. A few have gone so far as to cry ‘cultural appropriation’.
The interview has also been taken as a sign that the remake will deviate from the beloved original story. Snow White, in the new movie, is no longer being “saved” by the prince in the original.
Similarly, leaked shots of the production revealed that the remake would not feature seven dwarves, another key element of the original. This lack of dwarves was already heavily touted by Peter Dinklage months before the release.
Zegler’s statement about Snow White being updated to fit a more modern audience is hardly surprising. The original Snow White had almost no autonomy; the story happened to her and she simply reacted. However, audiences today want characters to have agency it in their own story.
But many fans of the original are unable to recognize the flaws of the original story. They instead focus on Zegler and her statement. She has since stated she would stay out of the debate, a stance Halle Bailey likewise took when cast as Ariel in The Little Mermaid.
Of course, with Snow White, not everyone is a critic. Loud voices of support have also emerged for Zegler. This is an encouraging sign, especially given the huge amounts of backlash sometimes generated by Disney for an insensitive tweet or otherwise.
For Snow White, though, the controversy seems to come ahead of the release. It remains to be seen how the backlash will progress until then, or even how the movie itself will reflect in the end.
For now, we can only hope that the movie is a faithful adaptation of the classic, while still finding its place in a modern era. If Disney manages to achieve that, it should be praised. Not chastised.
“I’m if gonna stand there 18 hours in a dress of an iconic Disney princess, I deserve to be paid for every hour that it’s streamed online.”
The new Snow White is the most insufferable woman I’ve ever seen pic.twitter.com/U1swu4roRl
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) August 2, 2023