It’s an especially high-stakes project for Disney
In the pantheon of classic Disney princesses, Snow White holds a special place. Inspired by the Brothers Grimm story of the same name, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves famously became the first-ever animated film to hit cinemas when it premiered in 1937, going on to influence directors ranging from Orson Welles to Federico Fellini. As New York Times critic Frank S. Nugent tellingly wrote in his ’30s review, “If you miss it, you’ll be missing the 10 best pictures of 1938.” Walt Disney’s take on the 19th-century German fairytale ultimately became the highest-grossing film ever at that point—cementing his status as a Hollywood power-player in the process.
Rachel Zegler is stepping into Snow White’s golden slippers
Disney has pledged to cast more diverse leads in its upcoming films, with Halle Bailey appearing as Ariel in the forthcoming live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. Snow White, meanwhile, will be played by Rachel Zegler, who will dance her way onto the A-list this Christmas by playing Maria in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story. As a 17-year-old high schooler, Zegler beat out no less than 30,000 other Latinx actors for the role after she submitted videos of herself singing “Tonight” and “Me Siento Hermosa” during the film’s open-casting process.
The Evil Queen, meanwhile, will be played by Gal Gadot
Another recent trend at Disney? Reevaluating its villains, from Maleficent to Cruella. Wonder Woman’s Gal Gadot is set to appear as “the fairest of them all,” the Evil Queen who orders the murder of her stepdaughter Snow White, only for the princess to escape into a forest and hole up with the seven dwarves. Cue the Queen disguising herself as a “hag” and setting off to find Snow White with a poisoned apple that will put her to sleep for 100 years. The question is: Is she a deranged psychopath who chats to mirrors, or just another victim of gendered ageism?
The production team is as noteworthy as the cast
Marc Webb—the auteur best known for *500 Days of Summer—*will direct Snow White, while Greta Gerwig has been tapped to write the screenplay. Little is known about the plot at this stage, other than that it will build upon the 1937 film. There’s a wealth of material that Gerwig could draw on from the original fairytale, of which countless variations exist. Take the fact that, in the Brothers Grimm story, the Evil Queen actually tries to murder Snow White several times using different magical objects, including tightly-laced bodices and a poisoned comb.
Expect the music to be catchy, too
While Disney may have eliminated musical numbers from some of its more recent live-action films (ahem, Mulan), rest assured that Zegler’s pipes will be on full display in Snow White and the Seven Dwarves 2.0. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul—the team responsible for the soundtracks to both La La Land and The Greatest Showman—are penning original songs for the film. Musical rehearsals are due to begin early next year, with filming slated to commence in March. Off to work they go.