In Her Own Words: Rachel Zegler Addresses ‘Snow White’ Hate

in Entertainment

Rachel Zegler on a still of Snow White looking shocked

Credit: Inside the Magic

Actress Rachel Zegler has received quite the amount of backlash over the last few months, particularly related to Disney’s Snow White (2025).

Despite lacking professional acting experience, Rachel Zegler landed her breakthrough role as Maria in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of West Side Story (2021). Following the success of her performance, she was cast as Lucy Gray Baird in Hunger Games: Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (2023). Zegler’s career trajectory continued to ascend when she was chosen to portray Snow White in Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptation, marking another milestone in her burgeoning acting career. With his career on the rise, Zegler has also faced some criticism.

Rachel Zegler looking shocked in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes
Credit: Lionsgate

The young actress was blasted by a number of fans following comments about Disney’s live-action Snow White when she said “that it wasn’t 1937 anymore” and that the titular Disney princess wouldn’t be saved by a prince in this version. The film, which was previously slated to release last month and was delayed by a full year, also stars Gal Gadot (Evil Queen) and Andrew Burnap (Jonathan).

The multitude of voices speaking against the Disney film became so great that many box office insiders said the movie was “destined to fail.” In response to fans who were heavily speaking against Rachel Zegler and Disney, the conservative media outlet The Daily Wire also issued an announcement that it would be creating its own live-action version of Snow White, based on the Brothers Grimm Fairytale. Titled Snow White and the Evil Queen, the movie stars Brett Cooper as the princess.

“I was raised on the original Grimms’ Fairy Tales, so I’m thrilled that we’re bringing this iconic story to life for the next generation!” said Cooper. “Snow White is such a beautiful character, and I’m honored to be playing her. Like all the best fairy tales, this is a story with timeless values, like love, friendship, and kindness, and I can’t wait to share them.”

Brett Cooper as Snow White
Credit: The Daily Wire+, Bentkey

Amid the wave of backlash, there have been some signs of change, particularly in Rachel Zegler’s comments over the last few months.

Rachel Zegler responds to Snow White criticism

In previous interviews, we have begun to see “winds of change” in how Rachel Zegler is handling her comments on the upcoming film, and this is likely a direct marketing tactic.

In a Variety article, Zegler talked about how the cartoon was “iconic,” and how she understands that there is a “dedicated” fanbase  to the company’s animation.

“The cartoon is so beloved. It was the first feature-length cartoon movie. It won honorary Oscars. And all these amazing things that happened for that film are the reason that you and I get to sit here today, because it made Disney what it is. Obviously, that’s come with a lot of pressure that I’ve put on myself,” Zegler said. “Much like Hunger Games, there’s a very dedicated group of people who love Disney cartoons. I’m one of them. I love everything that the Disney Co. has put out in the past 100 years. So how do you put little baby Rachel at ease with what you’re doing in your career? How is it that you come to this role and make little Rachel proud? That was really what I used to fuel my emotion on that set. Because all the pictures are out there of little me in my Snow White gown.”

Rachel Zegler in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes
Credit: Lionsgate

Rachel Zegler went on to share that while the movie is “a bit different story-wise,” there were some aspects of the 1937 animated film that they were able to bring into the mix.

“This is an iconic thing that people really care about,” she said. “I don’t want to mess this up for anybody, including myself. The writers and Marc Webb and our entire producing team…it’s a bit different story-wise. We were able to do ‘Whistle While You Work,’ which made me really happy and excited. I was really nervous more about the technical element. That first-look image went out… and there’s a lot of CGI in the film.”

Credit: Dave J. Hogan

In a separate interview with Gotham Magazine, Zegler was quoted saying that she was excited to work with Disney to “breathe life into such an iconic fairytale.”

“It’s been amazing to work alongside Disney to breathe life into such an iconic fairy tale… Of course, she’s an iconic Disney princess, and so a lot of those iconic beauty moments for her are still scattered throughout the film,” she said.

What is next for the live-action version of Snow White?

Where does Disney go from here? With less than a year until the film’s release, the expectation is that we’ll see both Rachel Zegler and Gal Gadot get together to promote the film, most likely several months from now in the winter heading into the spring.

Disney has already released a “first look” at the film, so we can expect that a trailer– likely multiple trailers– will be unveiled before the film’s opening, but a time frame on when we might get the first one is yet to be determined. With the D23 Fan Expo returning to Anaheim this year in August, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Disney drop a trailer during one of its panels.

Rachel Zegler in Disney's Snow White
Credit: Disney

The company will likely be careful to toe the line in the trailers, and we wouldn’t be surprised if only the “classic” and well-known moments in the original animated version are shown in these trailers. Disney understands that a lot is at stake when it comes to box office numbers next spring, with Snow White reportedly needing to hit upwards of $300 million at the box office just to break even.

With money on the line and already a myriad of failed projects at the box office these last couple of years, Disney will be careful to keep fans happy with what they see in these trailers. That will also likely extend to what we’re hearing from Rachel Zegler, Gal Gadot, and Andrew Burnap when they begin their promotional appearances later this year and into 2025.

Star of Disney's live-action Snow White remake Rachel Zegler in front of the seven dwarfs.
Credit: Rachel Zegler Instagram

There is a lot riding on this movie, particularly at the box office for Disney, and it all begins when trailers and promotions ramp up a few short months from now.

Below is Disney’s only official statement on the film, which was released when the company announced the delay of the film back in October.

“Disney’s Snow White—a live-action musical reimagining of the classic 1937 film—is coming to theaters on March 21, 2025.

The film—which stars Rachel Zegler—invites audiences back into the magical world of Snow White with beloved songs and recognizable characters such as the Evil Queen and, of course, Dopey, Grumpy, Sneezy, Bashful, Happy, Sleepy and Doc,” the company shared.

At this time, no other information has been given on the new film.

Snow White dancing with the seven dwarfs
Credit: Disney

Snow White is Disney’s most iconic film

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) holds a special place in cinematic history as Disney’s most iconic film, and several factors contribute to its enduring legacy. Firstly, it was Disney’s first full-length animated feature, marking a groundbreaking milestone in animation and solidifying the studio’s reputation as an industry pioneer. The ambitious endeavor of creating a feature-length animated film during an era dominated by short cartoons showcased Disney’s innovative spirit and set a high standard for future animated classics.

The enduring appeal of Snow White lies in its timeless story, adapted from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale. The tale follows the journey of Snow White, a kind-hearted young woman who faces wickedness, finds solace with seven lovable dwarfs, and ultimately triumphs over evil through the power of love and goodness. The universal themes of friendship, love, and overcoming adversity resonate with audiences of all ages, ensuring the film’s timeless charm.

Snow White holding bird in 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'
Credit: Disney

Central to Snow White‘s charm are its memorable characters, each brought to life with distinct personalities and traits. From the wicked Queen with her iconic mirror and poisoned apple to the charming Prince and the endearing dwarfs, the film features a rich ensemble cast that has left an indelible mark on popular culture. Snow White herself, with her gentle demeanor and unwavering optimism, remains one of Disney’s most beloved heroines, embodying purity and resilience in the face of darkness.

In addition to its captivating story and characters, Snow White revolutionized animation techniques, showcasing groundbreaking advancements in character animation, color design, and storytelling. The film’s lush visuals and memorable musical score, including songs like “Someday My Prince Will Come,” set a new standard for animated films and paved the way for Disney’s subsequent masterpieces. The meticulous attention to detail evident in every frame of Snow White demonstrated the potential of animation as a powerful medium for storytelling and artistic expression.

Snow White and Dopey
Credit: Disney

Furthermore, Snow White left a noticeable mark on the cultural landscape, shaping the perception of animated films as more than just children’s entertainment. Its critical and commercial success paved the way for Disney to produce a string of beloved classics, establishing the studio as a cultural phenomenon and shaping the childhoods of countless individuals around the world.

What do you think will become of Snow White in the live-action version of the film? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments!

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