The new 'Snow White' remake won't be out for months but it's already at the center of a heated controversy

  • "Snow White" is the next classic animated Disney film getting the live-action remake treatment.

  • The film — which is not out until 2024 — has been mired in several controversies already.

  • Here's everything you need to know about the film, which stars Rachel Zegler and Gal Gadot.

It's been heavily suggested that audiences shouldn't expect the new "Snow White" to follow the story of the original film.

The title card for "Snow White."
The title card for "Snow White."Disney

Like Disney's 1937 animated classic, the upcoming film is loosely based on the 19th century German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm.

However, it seems that audiences can expect a few modern updates to the story, including the changing of her seven companions to a diverse group of forest-dwelling individuals, rather than dwarfs.

At Disney's 2022 D23 Expo presentation, a 30-second first-look teaser of the film revealed quick flashes of what audiences can expect from the movie, including a shot of Zegler's Snow White taking her fated bite of the poison apple.

Rachel Zegler is leading the cast, and will be joined by Gal Gadot, who plays the Evil Queen.

Gal Gadot and Rachel Zegler introducing a clip of "Snow White" at the D23 Expo Presentation in September 2022.
Gal Gadot and Rachel Zegler introducing a clip of "Snow White" at the D23 Expo Presentation in September 2022.The Walt Disney Company via Getty Images

Zegler, the breakout star of 2021's "West Side Story" remake, was cast to play the role of Snow White in June 2021. Several months later, she shared a little about the role, revealing to ExtraTV that her Snow White would be a lot "stronger" than the original.

A few months later it was announced that Marvel star Gal Gadot would be playing the Evil Queen. The 38-year-old star told GQ that she had to sing in her audition, something she hadn't done for a long time.

"They needed to make sure I can sing because this is a musical. So for a month, I was working on the song, and then I auditioned," she said.

Gadot also told Vogue Hong Kong she changed her voice in order to take on the role.

In January 2022, it was announced that Andrew Burnap, an actor best known for his theater work but who has starred in "WeCrashed" and "Under the Banner of Heaven," would be playing the lead male role. However, his character is named Jonathan, and is possibly not a prince.

Zegler's casting in the titular role attracted some backlash.

Rachel Zegler has responded to the backlash against her casting.
Rachel Zegler has responded to the backlash against her casting.Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Warner Bros.

After it was announced that Zegler would be taking on the lead role in the film, some pushed back against her casting, upset that an actor of Latin descent would be stepping into the role of the character who is famously described as having skin "as white as snow."

Appearing on Variety's Actors on Actors series with Andrew Garfield in January 2022, Zegler spoke about the pushback she experienced, and how she's hoping to change perceptions on who can or can't play certain roles.

"Never in a million years did I imagine that this would be a possibility for me. 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," she said.

She continued: "When it was announced, it was a huge thing that was trending on Twitter for days, because all of the people were angry."

"Ah, those people," Garfield responded. "The people that we need to educate. The people that we need to love into awareness."

Zegler concluded: "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."


It's taken a long time to bring "Snow White" to screens, and there is still a while to go before the movie is released.

The film's release date has been set for 2024.
The film's release date is set for 2024.Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for CNN

It was first announced by The Hollywood Reporter that Walt Disney Pictures was developing a live-action remake of their beloved first animated feature film, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," in 2016.

Initially, it was reported that Erin Cressida Wilson would be writing the screenplay, before it was revealed in November 2021 that Greta Gerwig had been brought on as co-writer.

In September 2022, two months after shooting had officially wrapped, it was revealed during the 2022 D23 Expo Presentation that the film would be released in 2024.  A few days later, it was announced that the film's official release date is March 22, 2024.

The upcoming remake has been plagued by controversy in recent months, most of it stemming from supposed changes to the film's plot and characters.

Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, lobbycard, 1937.
LMPC via Getty Images

In July 2023, photos from the film's set obtained by the Daily Mail appeared to confirm the film will feature a diverse group of people instead of the original fairytale's seven dwarfs.

While the decision is tied to Disney's attempt at inclusivity, many on the internet slammed Disney for not including actors who are part of the dwarfism community in the movie.

In 2022, after "Game of Thrones" actor Peter Dinklage described "Snow White" as a "fucking backward story of seven dwarfs living in a cave," Disney revealed that it was "taking a different approach" and would likely not feature seven dwarfs, as in the original story.

In the wake of Dinklage's comments, a representative said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter that the studio was consulting "with members of the dwarfism community" during the pre-production process for the movie.

"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," a representative said.

Star Rachel Zegler has come under fire for her derisive comments about the original film while discussing the remake.

A 1937 poster of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (L) and actress Rachel Zegler, who will star in the 2024 Disney remake (R).
A 1937 poster of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (L) and actress Rachel Zegler, who will star in the 2024 Disney remake (R).LMPC via Getty Images, Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Since her casting was announced in June 2021, Zegler has repeatedly suggested she's not a fan of the original 1937 Disney princess film.

In a December 2022 interview with Entertainment Weekly, the 22-year-old actor said she'd seen the original animated film only once before revisiting it for her new role, and hadn't really enjoyed it.

"I was scared of the original version. I think I watched it once and never picked it up again. I'm being so serious," Zegler said in the interview in which she was joined by her costar, Gadot.

She added: "I watched it for the first time in probably 16, 17 years when I was doing this film."

Speaking to Variety in September 2022, Zegler was asked what she meant when she said she was bringing a modern edge to the character.

"I just mean that it's no longer 1937," Zegler began.

Gadot interjected that Snow White was "not going to be saved by the prince," with Zegler continuing: "She's not going to be saved by the prince, and she's not going to be dreaming about true love — she's dreaming about becoming the leader she knows she can be and the leader that her late father told her that she could be if she was fearless, fair, brave, and true."


Zegler has also likened the prince in the film to a stalker and hinted that his part of the story is going to be changed significantly.

Rachel Zegler has joked that Andrew Burnap's role as Prince Charming could be cut from the film.
Rachel Zegler has joked that Andrew Burnap's performance could be cut from the film.Dave J. Hogan/Getty Images, Bruce Glikas/Getty Images

In an interview with Extra TV in September 2022, Zegler described the prince in the original film as a stalker and emphasized that a love story wasn't central to the new film.

"The original cartoon came out in 1937, and very evidently so," Zegler said in the interview. "There's a big focus on her love story with a guy who literally stalks her. Weird! Weird! So we didn't do that this time."

"We have a different approach to what I'm sure a lot of people will assume is a love story just because we cast a guy in the movie," she added, before joking that her costar Burnap's scenes as might be cut from the film altogether.

The son of the animator behind the 1937 film has said that his father and Walt Disney would be "turning in their grave" if they knew about the remake.

Walt Disney with lustrations from the animated film "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."
Walt Disney with illustrations from the animated film "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."Hulton Archive/Getty Images

While there are still several months to go before the film is released, the son of the animator who directed the original film has already condemned the remake, calling it "insulting."

David Hand, who was a designer for Disney in the '90s, told The Telegraph: "They change the stories, they change the thought processes of the characters, they just aren't the original stories anymore. They're making up new woke things and I'm just not into any of that."

Hand's father — also named David Hand — worked as the supervising director on the original animated film "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" alongside Walt Disney in 1937. In his opinion, both would be deeply upset if they were around to see studio bosses "destroy" their creation.

"I mean, it's a whole different concept, and I just totally disagree with it, and I know my dad and Walt would also very much disagree with it. There's no respect for what Disney did and what my dad did," he said. "I think Walt and he would be turning in their graves."

He added that Adriana Caselotti, who voiced the titular character in the original film, would be "terrified" by suggestions her version of the character wasn't a feminist.


Read the original article on Insider