Rachel Zegler Responded To The "Angry" Backlash She Received After She Was Cast As Snow White In The Upcoming Live-Action Remake

"Never in a million years did I imagine that this would be a possibility for me. You don't normally see Snow Whites that are of Latin descent."

Rachel Zegler has responded to backlash over her casting as Snow White in the upcoming live-action remake.

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It was announced last year that the 20-year-old actor, who recently shot to fame after appearing as the lead in Steven Spielberg's West Side Story, will star as the original Disney princess, a role Rachel said she was "very excited" to bring to life.

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However, the news was met with some backlash and criticism over the choice to cast a Latina actor.

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"Never in a million years did I imagine that this would be a possibility for me," Rachel told Andrew Garfield in a recent interview with Variety. "You don't normally see Snow Whites that are of Latin descent. Even though Snow White is really a big deal in Spanish-speaking countries."

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"Blanca Nieves is a huge icon whether you're talking about the Disney cartoon or just different iterations and the Grimm fairy tale and all the stories that come with it," she added. "She is really big in the Spanish language, but you don't particularly see people who look like me or are me playing roles like that."

Of the criticism, Rachel agreed with Andrew's sentiment after he said: "Ah, those people. The people that we need to educate. The people that we need to love into awareness."

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"When it got announced, it was a huge thing that was trending on Twitter for days, because all of the people were angry," Rachel said. Agreeing with Andrew, she added: "We need to love them in the right direction."

This isn't the first time that an actor has faced backlash for being cast as a lead in a Disney live-action remake — Halle Bailey faced similar criticism after it was announced she'd be taking on the role of Ariel in The Little Mermaid.

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After the news was unveiled, the hashtag #NotMyAriel was conceived, with people pointing out that the original character of Ariel was described as having "white skin [and] blue eyes."

"I feel like I'm dreaming and I'm just grateful and I don't pay attention to the negativity," Halle herself said. "I just feel like this role was something bigger than me and greater, and it's going to be beautiful."

The Little Mermaid is due for release in 2023.

As for the upcoming Snow White remake, most of the details are being kept under wraps for now. What we do know is that Gal Gadot will take on the role of the Evil Queen, while Amazing Spider-Man director Marc Webb will direct.

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The story itself will also be tweaked for its release, giving Snow White a character arc that doesn't just rely on her being rescued by Prince Charming.

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"There's not much I can say about it besides the fact that Snow White has constantly been criticized," Rachel told BuzzFeed in an interview last year. "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.

"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," she said. "I'm very, very excited to be able to bring that to life."

However, the movie has already faced criticism from the likes of Peter Dinklage, who called out Disney for its decision to remake the film in the first place, calling it a "fucking backward story."

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"There's a lot of hypocrisy going on," the Game of Thrones actor said in a conversation during a recent podcast interview. "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."

He went on: "You're progressive in one way, but then you're still making that fucking backward story about seven dwarfs living in a cave together — what the fuck are you doing, man?"

"All love and respect to the actress and to the people who thought they were doing the right thing," he finished. "But I'm just like, What are you doing?"

Disney responded to Peter's comments in a statement last week, claiming it was "taking a different approach" to the characters and had already "been consulting with members of the dwarfism community."

Disney

"We are taking a different approach with these seven characters and have been consulting with members of the dwarfism community," Disney's statement said. "We look forward to sharing more as the film heads into production after a lengthy development period."

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