The many scandals to plague Disney's live-action Snow White
Inside the many scandals to plague Disney’s live-action remake of Snow White as it gets delayed by a YEAR – from leading lady Rachel Zegler’s ‘hatred’ of the classic cartoon to the controversial ‘woke’ changes to its storyline
- The company announced it was delaying the movie until March 2025 last week
- The remake has been plagued with many scandals since production began
- It has faced backlash over casting and its decision to remove the dwarfs
When Disney announced that it would be releasing a live-action rendition of the 1937 animated classic Snow White, millions around the globe were delighted that their childhood favorite would be coming to life. But the excitement for the remake was quickly overshadowed by a slew of controversies.
Ever since it was revealed that the company would be remaking the movie, the new version has been shrouded in scandal – from backlash over casting and disappointment over plot changes to arguments over whether or not Disney should include the dwarfs in the remake and a slew of eyebrow-raising comments from the actress who was picked to play Snow White.
Amid the ongoing criticism, Disney announced last week that it was delaying the film by a year, and while it was said at the time that the actors’ strike was to blame, sources told DailyMail.com that the company changed the release date because it was terrified the film will be a ‘financial failure’ following the immense scrutiny.
The fallout first began when Disney announced that Rachel Zegler, a Columbian-American star who is best known for portraying Maria in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, would be starring as Snow White.
Ever since it was revealed that Disney would be remaking the fairytale, the new version has been shrouded in scandal – from backlash over casting and disappointment over plot changes
Many were unhappy that a Latina actress had been picked to portray the German character – since Snow White is famously described as the ‘fairest one of all’ with ‘skin as white as snow’ in the fairytale.
Things only got worse when actor Peter Dinklage went on a fierce tirade against the movie, calling Disney out for casting a Latina actress while moving forward with a ‘backwards story’ about seven dwarfs.
Soon after, the network announced that it would be reimagining Snow White’s companions, revealing that instead of using dwarfs, they would be ‘magical creatures.’
But the decision only sparked more fury, especially from actors who have dwarfism, who said Disney’s removal of the characters only took away a chance for people in their community to star in the film.
People became more outraged when Rachel started teasing a slew of changes to the plot, explaining that the original was decades old and needed an ‘update.’
She said it would focus much less on Snow White and the Prince’s love story, but rather, follow the Princess’ path to becoming a ‘leader.
But her admission left many of the fairytale’s die-hard fans terrified that the new version would veer too far off from the story they knew and loved, while others accused Disney of making unnecessary changes in its attempt to be more ‘woke.’
The movie only became even murkier after a series of interviews that showed Rachel slamming the original story went viral – seemingly ruining Disney’s soon-to-be princess’ reputation.
Not only did she admit that she ‘hated’ the animated flick because she was ‘scared’ of it as a child, but she also branded the plot as ‘weird’ and called the Prince a ‘stalker.’
Following the news that Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of Snow White has been pushed back by a year, FEMAIL broke down all of the scandals that have plagued the movie.
Is it too late for Disney to save the new version of the fairytale or will the extra year give them time to fix it? Only time will tell. In the mean time, here’s a look back at the many controversies the new Snow White film has already faced.
Backlash over the casting: Fans were furious that Disney chose a Latina actress to portray the famously ‘fair-skinned’ character who is known for being ‘as white as snow’
Disney announced that Rachel Zegler, a Columbian-American actress, would be starring as Snow White in June 2021, and almost immediately, the announcement was met with criticism
The company revealed that it had cast Rachel as the princess in June 2021, and almost immediately, the announcement was met with fierce criticism.
At the time, director Marc Webb said the West Side Story alum had been chosen due to her ‘extraordinary vocal abilities, strength, intelligence, and optimism.’
But some people were furious that a Latina actress had been picked to portray the German character – since Snow White is famously described as the ‘fairest one of all’ with ‘skin as white as snow’ in the beloved fairytale.
But some people were furious that a Latina star had been picked to portray the character – who is famously described as the ‘fairest one of all’ with ‘skin as white as snow’
‘Snow White is literally called Snow White because she has “skin as white as snow,”‘ one outraged fan wrote online after the news hit the web.
‘Her mother named her Snow White because she wished for a child with skin as white as the snow and lips as red as the blood.
‘It’s right there both in the Disney version and the original Brothers Grimm version of the story.
‘There’s no ambiguity, incredibly white skin is literally Snow Whites defining physical characteristic … it’s narrative incompatibility.’
Someone else said, ‘I am not outraged by her as a person, but the trend that demands black roles be casted to black actors and with the same breath, demand rewriting white stories to be represented by colored actors. That is pure racism.’
‘People are exasperated because at this point, films like this are purposely trying to race-bait for the sake of gaining box office views, and that’s exactly what the final product reflects,’ another user added.
‘Snow White is described as having: raven black hair, blood red lips, and the big one, the reason for her name, snow white skin,’ pointed out a different person.
One person accused Disney of ‘trying to race-bait’ to get ‘box office views’ while another called casting a Latina actress ‘narrative incompatibility’
‘Snow White was, just as her name implies, white. Not Latina. Here again we have an example of woke race-washing. It’s racist.’
But Rachel was quick to fire back at the haters, writing in a now-deleted tweet, ‘Yes, I am Snow White and no, I am not bleaching my skin for the role.’
But Rachel was quick to fire back at the haters, writing in a now-deleted tweet, ‘Yes, I am Snow White and no, I am not bleaching my skin for the role.’ She’s seen in Disney World as a kid
The actress spoke further about the negative reaction to Variety months later. She recalled, ‘When it was announced, it was a huge thing that was trending on Twitter for days, because all of the people were angry.’
‘Never in a million years did I imagine that this would be a possibility for me,’ added the star.
‘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 or are me playing roles like that … But 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.’
She also shared a slew of images of herself dressed as various Disney characters throughout her childhood to Twitter, while reminding her followers that anyone ‘can be a princess no matter what.’
‘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,’ she wrote.
‘I really, truly do not want to see it. So I leave you these photos. I hope every child knows they can be a princess no matter what.’
Disney announced it was reimagining Snow White’s seven companions after Peter Dinklage went on a fierce tirade about the use of dwarfs in the movie – but some were furious with the change
The backlash surrounding the movie only continued when Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage went on a fierce tirade against Disney over the upcoming remake in January 2022
The backlash surrounding the movie only continued when Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage went on a fierce tirade against Disney over the upcoming remake in January 2022.
He called out the contradiction between the studio’s decision to cast a Latina actress as Snow White, while still moving forward with a ‘backwards’ story that focuses on seven dwarfs.
He called out the contradiction between the studio’s decision to cast a Latina actress as Snow White, while still moving forward with a ‘backwards’ story that focuses on seven dwarfs. Following the criticism, the company announced that the movie would not feature dwarfs anymore
‘Literally no offense to anyone, but I was a little taken aback when they were very proud to cast a Latina actress as Snow White – but you’re still telling the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,’ Peter, who has a form of dwarfism known as achondroplasia, which affects bone growth, said.
‘Take a step back and look at what you’re doing there. It makes no sense to me.
‘You’re progressive in one way and you’re still making that f***ing backward story about seven dwarfs living in a cave together, what the f*** are you doing man?’
Following the criticism, the company announced that the movie would not feature dwarfs anymore.
In a statement, Disney said it had been ‘consulting with members of the dwarfism community’ throughout the early stages of production, and had ultimately decided to take ‘a different approach’ to the seven dwarfs that appeared in the original movie ‘to avoid reinforcing stereotypes.’
It added that Snow White’s seven companions would instead be depicted as ‘magical creatures,’ but didn’t give any more details about what that meant.
Disney’s decision to take out the dwarfs had a mixed reaction on the web – but some stars with dwarfism pointed out that the change robbed the community of work.
Disney’s decision to take out the dwarfs had a mixed reaction on the web – but some stars with dwarfism, like Dylan Postl (seen), pointed out that the change robbed the community of work
In July 2023, the first look of the new take on the dwarfs was revealed when images from the set of the movie were obtained by DailyMail.com
‘It makes me so sick to my stomach to think that there are seven roles for dwarfs that can’t get normal acting roles, or very few and far between roles, and now they are gone because of this guy,’ WWE wrestler Dylan Postl told DailyMail.com afterwards.
‘Peter Dinklage is the biggest dwarf actor probably of all time but it doesn’t make him king dwarf.
‘When he was cast as a little person role in Lord of the Rings or in a Game of Thrones or in Elf or this that or the other thing… those checks cashed just fine.
‘He had no issue then. But now he wants to be progressive? Come on man. It’s not helping our community it’s taking jobs away from our community that are very few and far between as it is.’
In July 2023, the first look of the new take on the dwarfs was revealed when images from the set of the movie were obtained by DailyMail.com.
They showed seven men who appeared to be a mix of genders, ethnicities, and heights walking through a field in England together, accompanied by someone who appeared to be Rachel’s stunt double.
Rumors emerged on Twitter afterwards that the dwarfs had been replaced by ‘seven bandits’ who ‘steal from the Queen to feed the poor.’
Completely revamping the classic story: The stars of the movie have teased numerous plot changes for the remake – and many are outraged that Disney is pivoting so much from the original
People became more outraged when Rachel started teasing a slew of changes to the plot, explaining that the original was decades old and needed an ‘update’
Snow White’s companions are not the only thing that Disney is planning to change in the upcoming remake of the classic fairytale.
The cast members have teased a few major swaps to the plot in various interviews – and even some of the most famous lines – which outraged many of the original’s dedicated fans even more.
‘Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?’ Snow White’s evil stepmother, the Queen, asks her mystic mirror in the 1937 version of the movie.
But according to Rachel, the oh-so iconic quote will take on a very different meaning in the remake.
‘The reality is that the cartoon was made 85 years ago and therefore it’s extremely dated when it comes to the ideas of women being in roles of power and what a woman is fit for in the world,’ she told Entertainment Tonight earlier this year.
‘And so when we came to reimagining the actual role of Snow White, it became about the “fairest of them all” meaning who is the most just and who can become a fantastic leader.’
Gal Gadot, who is set to play the evil Queen, added in that viewers should also expect a huge change regarding the Prince.
‘[Snow White] is not going to be saved by the Prince,’ she shared. ‘She’s the proactive one, she’s the one who set the terms, that’s what makes it so relevant to where we are today. She’s not going to be dreaming about true love.’
Instead, Rachel said Snow White will be dreaming about becoming the best leader that she knows she can be.
‘There’s a big focus on her love story with a guy who literally stalks her [in the original]. Weird,’ she said to Extra TV.
‘So, we didn’t do that this time. [The new movie] is really not about the love story at all, which is really, really wonderful.’
She said it would focus much less on Snow White and the Prince’s love story, but rather, follow the Princess’ path to becoming a ‘leader
Andrew Burnap was cast as Snow White’s love interest, who will not be a Prince, but rather, a new character named Jonathan.
But at the time, Rachel added that ‘all of his scenes’ might actually get ‘cut’ from the movie, adding, ‘It’s Hollywood, baby.’
Andrew Burnap was cast as Snow White’s love interest, who will not be a Prince, but rather, a new character named Jonathan
Their admissions caused another frenzy on social media, with angry fans accusing Disney of making unjust changes in its attempt to be more ‘woke.’
The company has taken numerous strides to become more inclusive in recent years – changing park policy to stop staff from using gendered greetings, giving old characters progressive makeovers, removing offensive imagery from rides, and most recently, making massive swaps to its live-action adaptations of its old films – however, some people feel that the company has gone too far.
‘Everything [I’ve] heard about the Snow White live action adaptation just gets worse and worse,’ one person tweeted after the new plot points were brought to light.
‘They’re probably not allowed to call it Snow White, someone somewhere will be offended,’ said someone else.
‘At this point, the live action remake of Snow White needs to be renamed because it’s not following the original story,’ suggested another user. ‘Just make it a new movie that’s inspired by/a retelling of the original.’
A fourth tweet read, ‘They tried to be ”progressive” but they’ve actually ended up with an incredibly reductive story and portrayal of Snow White.’
Despite the backlash, Rachel has defended the new adaptation , insisting that the original ‘needed’ an update and that the remake is more ‘politically correct.’
‘It’s an 85-year-old cartoon, and our version is a refreshing story about a young woman who has a function beyond “Someday My Prince Will Come,”‘ she told Vanity Fair.
‘There’s a big focus on her love story with a guy who literally stalks her [in the original]. Weird,’ Rachel said to Extra TV . ‘[The new movie] is really not about the love story at all’
Amid all the changes, David Hand, 91, the son of the original director of the animated film blasted Disney’s ‘pathetic’ and ‘insulting’ remake, and accused the company of having no respect for the classic.
He even said that he believed the new adaptation would have both his father and Walt Disney himself ‘turning in their graves.’
‘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,’ he said to Telegraph.
‘I think it’s pathetic that people feel that way… these are art forms in the world of film today.
‘[The original] was done with good taste when it was written… and I disagree with this whole new concept… but I know Disney’s getting into that mode.
‘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. I find it quite frankly a bit insulting that they may have done with some of these classic films.
‘There’s no respect for what Disney did and what my dad did… I think Walt and he would be turning in their graves.’
Their princess’ reputation was shattered: Rachel faced criticism after she made an eyebrow-raising comment during the actors strike – and old interviews that saw her SLAMMING the original movie resurfaced
Rachel faced immense criticism back in August, after she made an eyebrow-raising comment about how much she deserved to be paid amid the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes
‘If I’m going to stand there 18 hours in the dress of an iconic Disney princess, I deserve to be paid every hour that it is streamed online,’ she said in a clip, which was taken at a protest
To make matters even worse of Disney’s upcoming Snow White remake, its princess’ reputation was shattered in recent months.
Rachel faced immense criticism back in August, after she made an eyebrow-raising comment about how much she deserved to be paid amid the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes.
‘If I’m going to stand there 18 hours in the dress of an iconic Disney princess, I deserve to be paid every hour that it is streamed online,’ she said in a clip, which was taken at a protest.
It’s unclear who originally captured it, but it was uploaded to Twitter by an account called End Wokeness, where it now has more than 40 million views.
Afterwards, people on the web began to brand Rachel as ‘privileged’ and ‘entitled.’
She seemed to respond indirectly to the backlash in a tweet of her own, writing, ‘Fellas is it woke to wanna be fairly compensated.’
Soon after, several videos of her trashing the original cartoon version of Snow White resurfaced, which sparked even more fury online.
The old clips, taken from various interviews she’s done, revealed that the star once admitted that she ‘hated’ the original movie and was ‘scared of it’ as a child.
‘I watched it once and never picked it up again,’ she stated.
Soon after, several videos of her trashing the original cartoon version of Snow White resurfaced, which sparked even more fury online
The old clips, taken from various interviews she’s done, revealed that the star once admitted that she ‘hated’ the original movie and was ‘scared of it’ as a child
As mentioned above, she also described the film’s Prince as a ‘stalker’ and branded the storyline ‘weird.’
Soon after, social media was flooded with people bashing Rachel, with one TikToker calling it ‘incredibly off-putting’ to see her speak so negatively of the fairytale.
‘Disney found a way to cast somebody for Snow White whose entire personality on a marketing tour for the movie is, “I hate, hate Snow White,”‘ a man named Jack Mac said in a video, which got more than one million views.
Someone else called it ‘so sad’ since it felt like she was degrading a movie that meant so much to them ‘as a kid.’
Amid the scandal, it was reported that Snow White director Marc was ‘furious’ with Rachel for her negative comments.
A YouTuber named Mike Zeroh, who reports on ‘everything Disney,’ said sources told him that Marc ‘had a big issue’ with some of the things she had said.
He also claimed that insiders said Rachel was difficult to work with on set and that production was ‘hell,’ especially because she kept trying to insert her opinions on the storyline – especially regarding Snow White’s romance with the prince.
Backtracking: Disney shared a first look at the movie and it DID contain dwarfs, before announcing the movie would be delayed by an entire year following the many controversies
Last week, it was announced that the movie was going to be delayed by an entire year – with the release date being pushed from March 22, 2024, to March 21, 2025. The original is seen
Disney shared its first official look at Snow White on October 27 – which showed Rachel clad in the iconic blue, red, and yellow gown that Snow White wore in the animated classic, while sitting in a cabin surrounded by seven CGI dwarfs.
Many were left confused by the dwarfs in the image – since the company had previously stated that it wouldn’t be using dwarfs at all.
Days later, it was announced that the movie was going to be delayed by an entire year – with the release date being pushed from March 22, 2024, to March 21, 2025.
And while Disney said the actors strike was to blame for the decision, the question quickly arose: was the immense backlash and numerous controversies surrounding the film to blame?
After the news hit the web, a source told DailyMail.com that the company delayed the remake out of fears that it will be a ‘financial disaster.’
After the news hit the web, a source told DailyMail.com that the company delayed the remake out of fears that it will be a ‘financial disaster’
‘Disney had to delay Snow White because they have spent so much money on it, and if it is a financial disaster at the box office, it might single handedly cripple future remakes and potential Snow White sequels that they have planned,’ the insider claimed.
‘They also have to remove themselves from the bad taste in the mouths of online critics and want to instead deliver a great film and get to a point where they get it right.
‘They realize that they were overthinking things and are now reigning it all in a little bit more.’
According to the insider, producers and crew members are said to be trying to learn from the mistakes made by others films such as Cats – starring Taylor Swift, Judi Dench, and James Corden – which flopped at the box office on its release in 2020 and is generally considered one of the worst movies of all time.
‘They just need some time to figure it all out – plus we are still dealing with the strikes,’ the source added.
‘It is a perfect storm right now, but they are embracing change and anticipate it all to work out and exceed expectations. The work starts now.
Producers are said to have U-turned on their decision to include a diverse range of actors to play the dwarves after receiving backlash from Peter.
‘They also had to delay the movie because they not only have to make it as best as they can, but there are a lot of toys that they have to prepare, so they need the dwarves and the rest of the characters to look exactly like who they are supposed to be,’ the insider explained.
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