Rachel Zegler is currently wowing critics and audiences alike in West Side Story, and the YouTube star-turned-actress already has her next two big projects mapped out. She completed work on her DC debut Shazam! Fury of the Gods, coming in 2023, earlier this year and, back in June, Zegler was cast in the lead for Disney’s upcoming live-action remake of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Though Snow White the movie earned its play in cinematic history as the first ever feature-length animated film, Snow White the character generally isn’t viewed as one of the Mouse House’s best heroines due to her lack of agency and independence. Her reliance on her prince and the dwarfs to rescue and protect her was acceptable back in 1933 but not so much nowadays. Thankfully, Zegler is promising that her Snow White will be much “stronger.”
In an interview with Buzzfeed, Zegler admitted she couldn’t talk about it much but she revealed that the remake will acknowledge the criticisms against the princess’ characterization and teased that director Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man) has completely revamped Snow White’s storyline.
“There’s not much I can say about it besides the fact that Snow White has constantly been criticized,” Zegler said. “Even though she’s the original Disney princess and we love her so much, [she’s been] criticized for existing solely for a prince, existing solely to be rescued. And I think that our director, Marc Webb, and everyone who’s working on this film has really taken her narrative and turned it into something that’s a lot stronger.”
Though Zegler doesn’t mention her, it’s believed that Oscar-nominated filmmaker Greta Gerwig wrote the most recent draft of the screenplay, so she likely has a big hand in the protagonist’s increased arc, too. Turning a controversially unfeminist character into a feminist one is something Gerwig is familiar with following her work on the long-held-up Barbie movie.
With Zegler as the princess, Wonder Woman‘s Gal Gadot is stepping into the role of Snow’s sorceress stepmother, the Evil Queen (maybe the villain will actually get a name this time around?). Harry Styles has been rumored for the prince role, though he was previously linked to The Little Mermaid and that came to nothing. Then again, he did just work with Disney on Marvel’s Eternals.
Snow White is due to go into production in the United Kingdom in March 2022.