In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, the actress opened up about the pressures around two of her earliest and biggest big-screen credits. That includes her role in Snow White, with the actress responding to what she describes as “jokes” about the modern update, which features her — a Latina — in the titular role and consultants who have been brought in to address the representation of the film’s dwarfism community.
“People are making these jokes about ours being the PC Snow White, where it’s like, yeah, it is — because it needed that,” the actress said. “It’s an 85-year-old cartoon, and our version is a refreshing story about a young woman who has a function beyond ‘Someday My Prince Will Come.’”
In January, Disney addressed its handling of the “Seven dwarves characters after Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage criticized the live-action remake.
“Literally no offense to anyone, but I was a little taken aback when they were very proud to cast a Latina actress as Snow White — but you’re still telling the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Take a step back and look at what you’re doing there. It makes no sense to me. You’re progressive in one way, but then you’re still making that fucking backward story about seven dwarfs living in a cave together?” the actor said in an episode of episode of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast.
In a statement, a Disney spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter it had hired consultants, with the studio reportedly reimagining the dwarf characters, who it said would be CG/animated, from the movie’s earliest stages.
“To avoid reinforcing stereotypes from the original animated film, we are taking a different approach with these seven characters and have been consulting with members of the dwarfism community,” the spokesperson said. “We look forward to sharing more as the film heads into production after a lengthy development period.”
Zegler also discussed her experience during the press tour for her breakout role as María in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, which she filmed while 17 years old. The actress noted that having to juggle questions about her identity as a Colombian American playing a Puerto Rican while also grappling with responses to her be cast as Snow White made it particularly “stressful.”
“I don’t think there could be a more stressful press tour than what I had to do for West Side Story,” she said. “Having to answer for a lot of cultural questions and at the same time answer for why I got cast as a Disney princess that isn’t associated with my skin color — it was bizarre.”