After Trashing Animated Original, Live-Action ‘Snow White’ Star Rachel Zegler Now Claims “I Love Everything That The Disney Co. Has Put Out In The Past 100 Years”
In a change of tune ostensibly inspired by the absolutely massive backlash from even general audiences against her original opinion, after having trashed and dismissed Disney’s animated original, live-action Snow White star Rachel Zegler has now taken to claiming that she actually “love[s]” everything the studio has released in the last century.
The divisive star of The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes offered her updated take while speaking to fellow Disney actress Halle Bailey for Variety’s Actors on Actors interview series.
Following a discussion regarding their experiences in dealing with the criticisms leveled towards their respective castings as race-swapped incarnations of classic Disney Princesses, Bailey eventually moved to ask her colleague, “You are opening so many doors for your whole community as well. What has that felt like? Is it pressure?”
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In turn, Zegler replied by admitted that while she did indeed feel some pressure in the role regarding fan expectations, her biggest critic was, in fact, herself, due to her own apparent love for the House of Mouse’s filmography – including the animated Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs film, which kickstarted the company’s run as a titan of animated entertainment all the way back 1937.
“The cartoon is so beloved,” said the Shazam! Fury of the Gods actress to Bailey. “It was the first feature-length cartoon movie,” she continued. “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. 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?'” she then explained of the questions said expectations raised within her. “‘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.”
As noted above, this declaration from Zegler represents a significant shift in her rhetoric towards Disney’s animated Snow White as prior to this meeting the actress seemed to take every opportunity she could to bury the film for failing to be acceptably progressive by current standards.
Interviewed by Extra! following her casting as Snow White at the 2022 D23 event, Zegler proudly boasted, “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.”
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Asked if the film would still feature its signature Prince in any way, shape, or form, the actress revealed, “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.”
Offering a quick bit or praise to her aforementioned co-star “Andrew Burnap, great dude”, Zegler then 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 cut. Who knows? It’s Hollywood, baby!
Ultimately, Zegler concluded her thoughts at the time by detailing that her take on the story would entail “an inner journey that [Snow White] goes on to find her true self. And she meets a lot of people along the way that make the journey really incredible.”
Likewise speaking to Variety at the same event, Zegler declared that the film would have “a modern edge” as “it’s no longer 1937”.
“She’s not gonna be saved by the prince and she’s not going to be dreaming about true love,” said the actress. “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,” she concluded, “it’s just a really incredible story for, I think, young people everywhere to see themselves in.”
Continuing her press stops during the event, Zegler then told Entertainment Weekly that not only had she ever watched the original animated film twice – “once” as a child, after which her fear of the film’s contents led her to refrain from a return viewing, and then again “when I was doing this film” – but that her version would be changing the classic story in order to turn the film into a typical, ‘strong female lead’-centered Disney outing.
“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,” asserted Zegler. “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.”
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“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,” she then affirmed.
Her co-star in the film, Gal 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.”
Further torpedoing a hole in her claim to love Disney’s entire body of work is the noted fact that, after calling for the removal of actor Jeremy Renner from the role based on the accusations of substance and verbal abuse being leveled against him as part of a then-ongoing and particularly nasty custody battle with his ex-wife Sonny Pacheco, Zegler both walked all over Renner’s legacy in the role and the character’s history by opining that “the new Hawkeye should be a trans woman of color to stick it to that racist sexist transphobic garbage monster.”
“AND DEAF!!!!!!!” she further proposed. “Proper representation for the incredible Deaf/hard of hearing community. a deaf trans woman of color. YES.”