Rachel Zegler has faced some pretty extreme levels of backlash since it was announced that she'd landed the lead role in Disney's live-action Snow White remake, and the actress has now addressed the negativity she's experienced during a sit-down discussion with The Little Mermaid star Halle Bailey for Variety's "Actors on Actors" series.
As you might expect, the initial wave of criticism arose from the fact that Zegler is of Colombian origin, but the naysayers were given more ammo when the Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes star said she wasn't a fan of the original animated classic (because it scared her as a kid), and mentioned that the story contained some problematic elements (stalker Prince, etc) than really should be updated for modern audiences.
This obviously doesn't seem like anything a rational person would take issue with, but there was a perception that Zegler came across like she didn't really care for the character or the story (even though she never suggested as much).
Thankfully, Zegler doesn't seem to be letting the trolls get to her, but does acknowledge that it can be very difficult to reason with certain people.
"Choosing thankfulness and gratefulness is choosing peace. As much as you’d like to remind people verbally that being in the spotlight doesn’t absolve you of your humanity — that you’re allowed to have human moments — it doesn’t necessarily do what you want it to do. It fuels them more."
"So it’s choosing to be present and know that they’re probably just having a really hard day. And I’m putting out a movie," she added.
Zegler also weighed in on the first official still for the movie that was released last month, and while she doesn't comment on the reaction to the rather awful-looking CGI Dwarves, it sounds like she may feel that the image in question may not have been the best shot to lead with!
“This is an iconic thing that people really care about. 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.”
“Most of that day was spent singing to nothing,” Zegler went on. “I’m sure you also know how that can be. There was a lot of puppetry and CGI in post. It was really intense. There’s a lot of bloopers of me tossing a broom and letting it fall to the ground because that’s apparently how you toss things off to CGI characters. But it’s so much fun!”
Snow White is helmed by The Amazing Spider-Man director Marc Webb, and is expected to expand upon the 1937 animated classic's story. The movie will feature new songs by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (La La Land and The Greatest Showman), and will also feature Wonder Woman star Gal Gado as the Evil Queen, and Andrew Burnap as a new character named Jonathan.
The actors for most of the seven dwarfs have not been announced, but we do know that Martin Klebba, who has been in all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, will play Grumpy. It's also been confirmed that the movie will include a younger take on Snow White, which suggests that we will get some kind of flashback scenes that will expand on the origin of the title character.
Snow White is scheduled to hit theaters March 22, 2024.