The star of Walt Disney Pictures’ live-action remake of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs wants no part of the drama and discourse surrounding certain elements of the film project.
In the short time since actress Rachel Zegler was first cast in the role of Snow White in Disney’s live-action remake of its 1937 classic fairy tale, she has risen in fame and fandom. At the time she was cast by Disney, she had finished filming Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story and was beginning work on Warner Bros.’ Shazam! Fury of the Gods. But while the then-20-year-old actress was thrilled at the prospect of playing the princess with “hair black as ebony,” not everyone has felt the same elation.
In January 2022, during an interview during Variety’s Actors on Actors series, Zegler talked about her excitement about the new role.
“Never in a million years did I imagine that this would be a possibility for me,” Zegler said. “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. You don’t particularly see people who look like me playing roles like that.”
But as news of Disney’s decision to cast a Latina for the role of Snow White, the princess described in the classic Disney fairytale as one with “hair black as ebony, skin white as snow, and lips red as the rose,” some fans and non-fans alike took issue, even asking on social media platforms whether Zegler would bleach her skin for the role.
Zegler responded to the backlash from critics about Disney’s decision to cast her for the new role in a tweet that has since been deleted, saying, “Yes, I am Snow White; no, I am not bleaching my skin for the role.”
During the Actors on Actors episode, Zegler explained to actor Andrew Garfield, seated opposite her, that many were angry about Disney’s choice of actress for the role.
“When it was announced, it was a huge thing that was trending on Twitter for days because all of the people were angry,” Zegler said.
In return, Garfield suggested that those who were angry are “the people that we need to educate, the people that we need to love into awareness,” to which Zegler responded, “We need to love them in the right direction. At the end of the day, I have a job to do that I’m really excited to do. I get to be a Latina princess.”
But more than two years later, there’s still animosity among those who simply don’t think a woman of Latin descent should play the role of the fair princess. It seems that the opinions of some haven’t changed a bit. But then again, neither has Zegler’s. On Saturday, in response to the continued angst over her role as Snow White, Zegler took the opportunity to thank her fans and to show the general public where she stands on the issue, asking those who take issue with her being cast as the princess to leave her out of it.
“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 on her Twitter page on Friday, adding, “I really, truly do not want to see it.”
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.
i really, truly do not want to see it.
so i leave you w these photos! i hope every child knows they can be a princess no matter what pic.twitter.com/AU5PjJutK5
— rachel zegler (she/her/hers) (@rachelzegler) July 15, 2023
In an interview for ABC News, Zegler talked about actors and actresses of Latin descent and their roles in West Side Story, saying, “It’s so important for people like us to see people like us onscreen, to see people like us singing ‘I Feel Pretty,’ to see people like us falling in love and feeling joy and dancing around in pretty dresses. It’s so important for that next generation to see someone that looks like them.”
The remake stars Rachel Zegler, Gal Gadot as the Evil Queen, Andrew Burnap, and Martin Klebba. Disney’s live-action retelling of the classic Disney fairytale Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is scheduled for a box office release date of March 22, 2024.