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Disney ignores backlash and controversy and begins casting “dwarfs” for Snow White remake

Despite backlash and criticism over Disney’s new Snow White remake, the studio has moved forward in casting the first actor to play one of the Seven Dwarfs.

Disney's Snow White (2023) - IMDb

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In 2019, Disney announced plans for a live action remake of its first-ever feature-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which originally debuted in 1937. In 2021, further details were revealed about the film, and fans learned that Spider-Man director Marc Webb would be on tap to direct the film.

READ ALSO: Halle Bailey says the wait for Disney’s live action remake of “The Little Mermaid” will be “worth it”

rachel zegler cast as snow white

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Soon thereafter, Disney announced that Latina actress Rachel Zegler (Steven Spielberg‘s West Side Story, Shazam! Fury of the Gods) would embody the Disney princess Snow White. Broadway’s Andrew Burnap was cast as a male lead in the film, though according to Disney, Burnap’s role wouldn’t be as Snow White‘s prince, as a new male role had been created for the remake.

Andrew Burnap seven dwarfs

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RELATED: Actress Rachel Zegler says she refuses to bleach her skin for her role as a Disney princess in a new live action remake

Gal Gadot was cast as Snow White‘s stepmother, the Evil Queen.

Then, in January 2022, actor Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) called out Disney for its “backward” approach to the new film, as Dinklage, an actor among the dwarfism community felt that remaking a film that highlighted the Seven Dwarfs was in poor taste and could perseverate negative stereotypes about members in the dwarfism community.

“[Disney was] very proud to cast a Latina actress as Snow White,” Dinklage said on a podcast with Marc Maron. “But you’re still telling the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Take a step back and look at what you’re doing there, you know? It makes no sense to me.”

His comments about Disney’s new film made entertainment news headlines everywhere, even prompting Disney to respond by saying the live-action film would not “reinforce stereotypes.”

Game of Thrones' Peter Dinklage: Ignoring Fan Backlash Was Impossible |  IndieWire

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We are taking a different approach with these seven characters (the Seven Dwarfs from the original film) and have been consulting with members of the dwarfism community,” a Disney spokesperson told CNET in an email. “We look forward to sharing more as the film heads into production after a lengthy development period.”

Then it was announced that Disney was considering replacing the Seven Dwarfs with other “magical creatures,” though there were no details given about those creatures.

It’s unclear what Disney meant by “a different approach” to the Seven Dwarfs in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, but apparently, the decision was not to scrap the casting of members of the dwarfism community, as Pirates of the Caribbean star Martin Klebba has just revealed that he has been cast in the upcoming film as the moodiest of the Seven Dwarfs, Grumpy.

Martin Klebba | Booking Agent | Talent Roster | MN2S

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In a video made at a Denver, Colorado, Fan Expo, Klebba shared the news of his new role. In the recording, Klebba also also revealed to fans that his part in the filming of the new remake is already complete–and that he believes Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be released at the box office in late 2023.

Just got done filming ‘Snow White,’ which will be coming out late next year. And, of course, I play Grumpy,” Klebba said. “Gal Gadot is our witch, and Rachel Zegler will be our Snow White. So, come on by and have a good time.”

Though Klebba is a member of the dwarfism community, a post at ScreenRant.com suggests that his role as Grumpy may not look the same as the one from the 1937 classic Disney fairytale:

“It’s possible that Disney has changed Grumpy’s origins to be an entirely different character, and the new interpretation may include CGI or be entirely live-action. What’s more, Grumpy’s involvement in Snow White doesn’t confirm that all Seven Dwarfs are coming back. Even if Grumpy is returning, it’s possible that he is living solo, and meets Zegler’s titular character in a new way.”

Disney's Snow White: The Risk That Changed Filmmaking Forever | Den of Geek

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It remains to be seen what differences and what similarities Disney’s new live action version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will have with the original animated film from 1937.

About Becky Burkett

I'm an enthusiastic writer who finds joy in random things like cold weather, snow, "I Love Lucy," "The Andy Griffith Show," journals full of blank paper, countdowns to Christmas, the month of December, "Toy Story," "Sleeping Beauty," my 4 kids, my 4 shih tsus, Disney Parks history, Imagineering and visiting the parks. I think Walt Disney is the standard against which genius should be measured. I love to write about Disney Parks, Disney history, all things Imagineering and PIXAR. I adore the colors, story and art direction of Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" (Team Make it Blue!), and "Toy Story" is life (minus "Toy Story 4"). I believe Walt Disney was so much more than an entertainment and theme park tycoon; I believe he was a savant with a vision for life and how it could be if happiness and kindness are strived for. I love Biergarten at EPCOT and 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian. You can find me croonin' with the birdies at the Enchanted Tiki Room, chillin' on the PeopleMover or hangin' with Woody and the gang at Toy Story Land. I'm always looking for Imagineers in the parks, and I'd rather meet Joe Rohde and Tony Baxter than anyone in Hollywood! Hey, if you dream it, you really can do it!