Latino actress Zegler cast as Snow White in Disney adaptation

Latino actress Zegler cast as Snow White in Disney adaptation

June 23, 2021

‘Yes, I am Snow White, no I am not bleaching my skin for the role’: West Side Story star Rachel Zegler deletes tweet slamming critics saying that a Latina should not play a German fairytale character

  • Disney announced Tuesday it had chosen Colombian-American actress Rachel Zegler, 20, for the Disney princess role traditionally played by white actresses
  • Zegler is currently largely unknown to audiences but will soon star as Maria in Steven Spielberg’s much-delayed remake of ‘West Side Story,’ out in December
  • ‘Rachel’s extraordinary vocal abilities are just the beginning of her gifts,’ said Marc Webb, director of the Snow White adaptation, in a statement to AFP
  • Zegler celebrated her new role on Instagram: ‘well… hello to a dream come true’  
  • In 2019, Disney announced that black R&B singer Halle Bailey will play Ariel in ‘The Little Mermaid’

Actress Rachel Zegler has been cast as Snow White in Disney’s new live-action adaptation, marking the first time the princess will be played on film by a Latina star.  

Disney announced Tuesday it had chosen Colombian-American actress Zegler for the remake of its classic fairytale ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, which will begin production sometime in 2022.

Zegler, 20, is currently largely unknown to audiences but will soon star as Maria in Steven Spielberg’s much-delayed remake of ‘West Side Story,’ out in December, having seen off 30,000 rivals in an arduous open audition process. 

The casting of a Latino actress for a Disney princess role traditionally portrayed by white actresses follows Disney’s 2019 announcement that R&B singer Halle Bailey, who is black, will play Ariel in ‘The Little Mermaid.’

Snow White will be played by a Latina actress in Disney’s new live-action adaptation, as West Side Story star Rachel Zegler (pictured) has been cast for the role

Disney announced Tuesday it had chosen Colombian-American actress Zegler for the remake of the 1937 classic (above)

Marc Webb, director of the Snow White adaptation, said Zegler’s ‘strength, intelligence and optimism’ makes her the right choice for the iconic role. 

‘Rachel’s extraordinary vocal abilities are just the beginning of her gifts,’ he said in a statement to AFP.

‘Her strength, intelligence and optimism will become an integral part of rediscovering the joy in this classic Disney fairytale.’ 

Zegler, of New Jersey, celebrated the announcement on social media, as a ‘dream come true’.

‘well… hello to a dream come true,’ she wrote on Instagram Tuesday.

The 20-year-old up-and-coming star also shared her excitement on Twitter writing: ‘I HAVE MANIFESTED MY ENTIRE LIFE I THINK I THINK.’

She posted photos and videos of herself meeting the Snow White character on a trip to Walt Disney World.

‘homegirl we have LOTS to catch up on,’ she wrote. 

Zegler also shared some old photos of herself dressing up as Ariel on stage, writing: ‘i wanna be a real disney princess.’

The Latina star also fired back at a handful of haters who questioned her casting as the historically white character.  

‘yes i am snow white no i am not bleaching my skin for the role,’ she wrote in a since-deleted tweet.

In the classic fairytale, Snow White is described as the ‘fairest one of all’ with ‘skin as white as snow.’

Marc Webb, who will be directing the feature, said: ‘Rachel’s extraordinary vocal abilities are just the beginning of her gifts’ 

Zegler and the phrase ‘Snow White’ was trending on Twitter Tuesday, with the star noting: ‘well that’s a Thing that is Happening.’

Hours before the announcement Zegler had tweeted her admiration for Bailey’s casting in ‘The Little Mermaid.’ 

‘seeing halle bailey as ariel makes my heart go,’ she wrote, alongside several heart emojis. 

‘I love you disney princess cinematic universe,’ she added. 

Zegler’s casting comes more than two decades after Disney cast black singer Brandy, who is black, as Cinderella in a live-action 1997 film.

But Disney came under criticism in 2018 for ‘whitewashing’ Princess Tiana in cartoon movie ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet,’ hastily redrawing the character with darker features just months before the film’s release.

Zegler, of New Jersey, celebrated the announcement on social media, as a ‘dream come true’

She also posted photos and videos of herself meeting the Snow White character on a trip to Walt Disney World

Rachel Zegler and the phrase ‘Snow White’ was trending on Twitter Tuesday following the news 

Cuban-American singer Camila Cabello is set to appear as Cinderella in yet another live-action adaptation later this year, produced by Sony-owned Columbia Pictures and set for release on Amazon’s Prime Video.

Production on Disney’s untitled Snow White film is expected to begin next year, with the studio promising to ‘expand upon the story and music from the original’. 

The remake has been in the development since 2016.  

The queen and prince have yet to be cast while Benj Pasek and Justin Paul have been brought on board to write new songs for the movie. 

Pasek and Paul worked together on blockbusters including ‘La La Land,’ ‘The Greatest Showman’ and ‘Dear Evan Hansen.’ 

The movie’s classic songs including ‘Heigh-Ho,’ ‘Someday My Prince Will Come’ and ‘Whistle While You Work’ are expected to feature in the remake. 

Hours before the announcement Zegler had tweeted her admiration for Bailey’s casting in ‘The Little Mermaid’


Disney announced in 2019 that R&B singer Halle Bailey (left), who is black, will play Ariel in ‘The Little Mermaid’ (right the 1989 Ariel) remake 

The original animated Disney film first hit theaters 69 years ago back in 1937, telling the Brothers Grimm fairytale of a princess given a poison apple by her wicked stepmother.  

It was a huge hit and Walt Disney was awarded an honorary Oscar at the 11th Academy Awards in 1939.

Oscars organizers hailed Disney for the ‘significant screen innovation, which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field for the motion picture cartoon,’ giving the creator a statuette that included the regular figure flanked by seven smaller figurines, to represent each of the dwarfs.

The previous year, it had been nominated for best score, but lost out to the score for the musical One Hundred Men and a Girl.

Other adaptations of the classic story include Mirror Mirror, the 2012 film that featured Julia Roberts, Lily Collins and Nathan Lane; and Snow White and the Huntsman, another 2012 film that led to a poison apple of Hollywood scandal when it was revealed Kristen Stewart carried on a romance with (then-married) director Rupert Sanders. 

Zegler will soon hit the screens in Steven Spielberg’s remake of ‘West Side Story’ opposite Ansel Elgort and Rita Moreno.

She is also set to appear in the superhero sequel to ‘Shazam’ – ‘Shazam! Fury of the Gods’ – due for release in 2023.’

Zegler as Maria in a scene from ‘West Side Story’ which is due for release later this year 

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