A former Disney designer and the son of the original Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs director, David Hand, recently declared that not only would his father disagree with Rachel Zegler and The Walt Disney Company’s new vision for Snow White, but Walt Disney himself would too.
David Hand made his thoughts known in an interview with The Telegraph after Rachel Zegler’s comments about the new vision for Snow White made at the D23 Expo last September were proliferated on social media and in news outlets.
Zegler told Extra TV, “The original cartoon came out in 1937 and very evidently so. 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.”
When asked if the prince would even be in the film, Zegler answered, “We have a different approach to what I’m sure a lot of people will assume is a love story just because like we cast a guy in the movie, Andrew Burnap, great dude.”
She continued, “It’s one of those things that I think everyone’s going to have their assumptions about what it’s actually going to be, but it’s really not about the love story at all, which is really, really wonderful. And whether or not she finds love along the way is anybody’s guess until 2024. All of Andrew’s scenes could get. Who knows? It’s Hollywood, baby!”
Zegler then revealed what the film is really about, “It’s an inner journey that she goes on to find her true self. And she meets a lot of people along the way that make the journey really incredible.”
She made similar comments to Variety when asked why she described the movie as having a “modern edge.” She said, “I just mean it’s no longer 1937, and we absolutely wrote a Snow White–”
Gal Gadot, who plays the Evil Queen in the upcoming live-action adaptation, interjected, “–She’s not gonna be saved by the prince.”
Zegler then affirmed, “She’s not gonna be saved by the prince and she’s not going to be dreaming about true love.”
Zegler elaborated, “She’s dreaming about becoming the leader she knows she can be. The leader that her late father told her that she could be if she was fearless, brave, and true.”
“And so it’s just a really incredible story for, I think, young people everywhere to see themselves in,” she concluded.
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Zegler also revealed that the film is also changing the definition of “fair” for the film. The original animated film made it clear the term referred to beauty and was providing a lesson vanity.
This will no longer be the definition for Zegler’s live-action movie.
She explained, “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. 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.”
Zegler continued, “And the reality is, you know, Snow White has to learn a lot of lessons about coming into her own power before she can come into power over a kingdom.”
Gadot added, “Also the fact that she’s not going to be saved by The Prince and she’s the proactive one and she’s the one who set the terms is what makes it so relevant to where we are today.”
Reacting to these comments, Hand informed The Telegraph, “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 added, “I think it’s pathetic that people feel that way… these are art forms in the world of film today.”
Hand also rebuked Zegler’s assertion that the animated film’s ideas were dated saying it was made “with good taste when it was written… and I disagree with this whole new concept… but I know Disney’s getting into that mode.”
Not only did Hand have pointed comments about Zegler and The Walt Disney Company’s vision for Snow White, but he also criticized the company’s embrace of wokeness.
He said, “I’m afraid of what they’re going to do with the early films… their thoughts are just so radical now.”
“They change the stories, they change the thought processes of the characters, they just aren’t the original stories anymore,” he explained. “They’re making up new woke things and I’m just not into any of that.”
Hand noted, “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,” he added.
Hand didn’t just criticize Zegler and Disney, but did offer them some advice on what they should be doing instead. He said they “shouldn’t be taking a classic and rewriting it in their own image. Pick on something else… create new characters, if you’re gonna do this, but don’t destroy or try to destroy something that is, that is a classic and is a beautiful piece.”
The Telegraph also noted that Hand said original Snow White actress Adriana Caselotti would be “terrified” of how Zegler is describing the character and that Caselotti was “very proud of her role in Snow White. So lovely… she lived that role for all her life.”
What do you make of Hand’s rebuke of Rachel Zegler and The Walt Disney Company and their vision for Snow White?