Disney Reportedly Rejects Rachel Zegler’s Princess Audition, Alternate Actress Chosen

in Disney, Entertainment

Rachel Zegler as Snow White, Halle Bailey as Ariel

Credit: Edited by Inside the Magic

When it comes to Disney and auditions, the competition is quite fierce, especially when it comes to their princesses.

As we know, Disney has been creating a lot of live action films as of late, such as Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Snow White, and more — but each of these films derives from an original animated classic. Although picking who will play Belle, Jasmin, Ariel and Snow is a tough choice, picking their voice has been equally as tough!

Credit: Disney

In the past, there have been mega stars, such as Kristen Bell, who were actually rejected as being the voice of a Disney princess. 

The Frozen star actually auditioned for the role of Rapunzel in Tangled, though Mandy Moore ended up getting the part.

Bell told Paste: “[Tangled‘s casting director] told me ‘Look, if this doesn’t work out, I really want you to meet Chris Buck, who is directing the next Disney film’. So I sat down with Chris, after the audition, in the Disney commissary, and he told me that the next film was going to be a much more traditional Disney musical. I think he was appealing to the fact that I have a more traditional musical theatre voice.”

rapunzel in tangled
Credit: Disney

Similarly to Kristen, Idina Menzel, who plays Elsa in Frozen also auditioned for Tangled. 

Menzel told WeGotThisCovered: “I had auditioned and met the creative people for Tangled, so they kept me in mind for this [Frozen]. I had a meeting with Kristen too. But I think the reading was sort of an audition. Then they came back around, and gave me the gig.”

Jim Carrey was rejected as Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story, Emma Watson, who played Belle in Beauty and the Beast was rejected as Cinderella, Patrick Stewart was rejected as both Cogsworth and Jafar, and the list goes on.

Interestingly enough, we can see a notable trend here — Disney may reject you if you are not the right fit, but eventually, they will find a perfect role for the actors they choose to audition.

Rachel Zegler as Lucy Gray Baird in 'The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes'
Credit: Lionsgate

It seems that this is exactly what happened with the highly controversial Rachel Zegler. 

Rachel Zegler is currently cast as Snow White in Disney’s live-action Snow White. The film is set to debut in 2024, however, no date or footage has been released as of yet. Reportedly, some have hinted that the film is being recast, after the severe backlash that Zegler has caused during interviews.

The Rachel Zegler-led live-action remake of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) has been faced with backlash from every direction since it was first announced. Unsurprisingly, a lot of Disney fans were outraged at even the thought of remaking the very first Disney animated feature (directed by Walt himself), which is widely considered one of the most influential movies of all time and often ranked as the single greatest animated film of all time.

The controversy did not slow down when it was announced that Disney had cast Latin actress Rachel Zegler, best known for starring in Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story, as Snow White. While the studio was praised by some for its embrace of color-blind casting, others were outraged by the thought that “skin white as snow” not be taken literally.

Rachel Zegler, The Hunger Games
Credit: Rachel Zegler, via Twitter

Then it became known that Disney had decided that the “Seven Dwarfs” part of Snow White also did not need to be taken literally. After Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage publically called the movie a “backward story,” Disney responded with a statement saying, “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.”

On-set footage revealed that Disney had “re-imagined” the Seven Dwarfs as one actor with dwarfism and six without, including one female performer. Once again, a vocal contingent of traditionalist Disney fans were outraged.

In addition, Zegler shared in other comments that Andrew Burnap– who plays the role of Jonathan since there is no prince– could see his role completely cut if the executives decided to do so.

Credit: Dave J. Hogan

The initial viral interview that surfaced shared Zegler’s sentiments on the film. “I just mean that it’s no longer 1937,” Zegler said. “We absolutely wrote a ‘Snow White’ that … she’s not going to be saved by the prince, and she’s not going to be dreaming about true love; she’s going to be dreaming about becoming the leader she knows she can be and that her late father told her that she could be if she was fearless, fair, brave and true.”

Zegler has also mentioned that she only had seen the animated classic once before getting cast, and was actually terrified of the Disneyland attraction, expecting a strong distaste for the storyline and character. Combine all of this together, and Disney unknowingly took one massive bite out of this poisonous apple in terms of their casting choice.

Rachel Zegler pretending to be Snow White in front of a poster of the classic animated princess
Credit: Rachel Zegler, Twitter

That being said, it seems that they initially dodged the bullet.

It was recently leaked that Rachel Zegler once auditioned for the role of Ariel in Disney’s live-action The Little Mermaid.

Below, Baddies Glow (@baddiesglow) posted a video titled “Rachel Zegler Auditon for The Little Mermaid”. Here, we can hear Zegler performing “Part of Your World”, originally sung by Jodi Benson.

Lowkey better Ariel than Snow White.


Lowkey better ariel then snow white #fyp #explore #foryoupage #liveaction #rachelzegler

♬ original sound – baddiesglow

Although it is not certain that this was in fact the audition tape, many fans in the comment section shared that they were glad to see Halle Bailey get the role over her.

Some thought that perhaps Zegler was “mad she didn’t get the role and took it out on Snow White”. Others noted that her voice is fantastic and that it is a tragedy she did not have better media training so that she would have spoken in a less damaging way during interviews. Zegler is very new to the industry, despite starring in West Side Story and Shazam, and is quite young.

Directed by Rob Marshall with songs written by Alan Menken and Lin-Manuel Miranda, The Little Mermaid retells the story of the original 1989 animated classic and stars Halle Bailey as the Disney princess Ariel, Melissa McCarthy as Ursula the Sea Witch, Javier Bardem as King Triton, Jonah Hauer-King as Prince Eric, Awkwafina as Scuttle, and Daveed Diggs as Sebastian the crab.

Ariel (Halle Bailey) resting on jellyfish and talking to Sebastian
Credit: Disney

The Halle Bailey film has shattered records; Disney says the live-action Little Mermaid surpassed 16 million views in its first five days on Disney+ making it the most-viewed Disney movie premiere on Disney+ since Hocus Pocus 2.

Bailey has actually stood up for Zegler amid all of this controversy, as she is no stranger to online hatred for being cast as a Disney princess.

“We love you so much, truly the perfect princess,” Halle—who experienced similar criticism following her casting as Ariel—wrote to Rachel on Twitter July 15, to which the West Side Story star replied, “my sweetest girl, i love you always,” according to E Online. Halle Bailey is currently rumored to be pregnant.

Rachel Zegler, who portrays Snow White in the upcoming film, made a name for herself with films like West Side Story (2021), Shazam! Fury of the Gods (2023) and will star in this year’s expansion of the Hunger Games franchise with The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes as Lucy Gray Baird.

Do you think Rachel Zegler would have made a better Ariel or Snow White?






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