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‘Snow White’ Star Reveals “Terrifying” Expectations of Her Role on Set

Science suggests Disney's live-action remake of 'Snow White' will be a massive failure
Credit: Rachel Zegler on Instagram/ Disney

Rachel Zegler, lead in Disney’s upcoming 2024 Snow White live-action film, recently spoke to the terrifying expectations she grappled with after being cast in the titular role.

Though she’s only starred in two movies for the brief duration of her professional film career, West Side Story (2021) and Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023), the future Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes star has already received a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for her vocal talents as Maria. In addition to critical acclaim from audiences and the press, Zegler gained the approval of Steven Spielberg himself when he chose her out of 30,000 candidates after seeing her “audition” via Twitter.

Credit: Vogue

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Despite her limited time in the Hollywood limelight, Rachel is not unfamiliar with the spotlight, especially concerning Disney. For example, she previously won award nominations for high school performances in The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, and self-edited all 85 singing videos on her Youtube channel, where she performs things like Taylor swift covers for 230,000 subscribers.

Moreover, singing for a wide online audience is a practice she’s continued since the age of 14, but the Snow White star still finds trepidation at the thought of rubbing elbows with co-stars like Gal Gadot (The Evil Queen Grimhilde). The “very human” performer describes her lack of good days when she’ll doubt herself beside friends and scene partners Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu in an interview with NME.com.

Snow White

Credit: Disney

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Like Halle Bailey, the live-action star playing Ariel, Zegler describes a pressure to succeed in the face of others’ expectations, whether that’s from industry professionals accustomed to a certain standard or fans loyal to Walt’s own original depiction of the first Disney Princess in 1937. In fact, the fairytale heroine’s prestige as “the first one” and “blueprint of all the Disney Princesses” after had Rachel “terrified, terrified, terrified, terrified.”

Additionally, she spoke to fears over the fantastical nature of the script, requiring her to interact with unreal elements of magic and dance with digitally rendered animals, as well as physical changes like the cutting of her hair for Snow’s iconic short bob. She notes a dissonance between the girl she sees on Elle Magazine’s cover versus her reflection in the mirror, “trying to catch up with the version of yourself that everybody has projected onto you.”

Snow White with Gooseberry Pie

Credit: Disney

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Ironically, these same difficulties seem to mirror her character’s storyline, a sweet and humble beauty with no desire but to prove her loyalty to her kingdom and her queen in the face of the old hag’s vain insecurities and distrust. However, Zegler’s closing statement in the interview already showcases her confidence and her ability to perform the role. She quoted a line from “High Flying Adored,” a song in Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1978 music Evita: “One thing I’ll say for me/No one else can fill it like I can.”

About Spencer Johnette

Spencer is a lifelong lover of theme parks, princesses, and Disney history that recently relocated to Northern California. She completed her undergraduate studies at UCLA, where she was the founder and first president of the campus Disney Club. A former Cast Member still mourning the loss of the Disney Store, she now haunts the Walt Disney Family Museum halls and shares her opinions with anyone who will listen @gothelsflower.