(LifeSiteNews) — Almost 90 years after Disney released its classic rendition of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale Snow White, the embattled company is working on a live action remake. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the new adaptation is making some significant changes to the original.
The 1937 “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” is not just a classic film. During its first year alone, it grossed a total of $8 million, more than any movie had profited before. Radio City Music Hall screened the film for five weeks in 1938 instead of the typical three-week screening period.
Additionally, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” was not only Walt Disney’s first feature-length project but also the first feature-length animated movie to be released in the United States. This year, the live action remake has stirred up significant controversy prior to its 2024 release date, seemingly disregarding the impact of the original film.
Conservatives are voicing ongoing opposition to the removal of the values and narrative that captured the hearts of citizens around the world during the Great Depression. And, unfortunately, these changes involve the all-too-familiar left-wing talking points of inclusion and feminism.
Latino princess and the seven ‘magical creatures’
The backlash was initially sparked by casting announcements. Snow White was to be played by 22-year-old actress Rachel Zegler, who entered Hollywood playing Maria in Steven Spielberg’s 2021 adaptation of the hit Broadway musical “West Side Story.” Though a talented singer and enthusiastic actress, conservatives pointed out that Zegler simply doesn’t look the part of the princess who is so clearly described as having “skin as white as snow.”
Daily Wire co-founder and host Ben Shapiro summarized what many conservative voices resounded back in July, when he said that Zegler is “a very talented person” but called Disney’s decision “weird casting.”
“They’re not going to recast Tiana [from The Princess and the Frog] as a white lady,” Shapiro said. “Snow White is like maybe the only racially specific white princess because it’s in the name … It’s very strange to me that if you cast Alexander Hamilton as a black person, that’s totally fine, but if you cast Martin Luther King [Jr.] as a white person, that’s totally unacceptable. Maybe you should cast people as like what the description of the part is.”
Shapiro also criticized Disney for trying to avoid “reinforcing stereotypes” by casting a “diverse” group as the seven dwarfs — only one of whom is a little person. He pointed out that taking offense to the original story is “strange” because “the heroes of the story are the dwarfs” who kill the witch and save Snow White from her evil stepmother, the queen.
The cast includes six men of various races and ethnicities as well as a woman.
“Apparently, their goal is to just destroy whatever sense of believability the story has,” Shapiro continued. “It’s literally in the description. This is the most physically descriptive of all titles — Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. So, now, apparently, the title of this movie is Hispanic person, six large people and a little person, which seems like a different film to me.”
‘She’s not going to be saved by the prince’
Another major change to the plot relates to the theme of true love conquering all. In the original fairy tale and 1937 film, Snow White dies from eating the apple poisoned by her stepmother, only to be brought back to life with a kiss from the prince, sending the message that love is more powerful than death.
The creators of the remake — including Greta Gerwig, who wrote and directed the pro-LGBT and feminist “Barbie” movie — seem to view this theme as old-fashioned and belittling to women. During an August 7 segment of “The Comments Section,” 21-year-old Daily Wire commentator Brett Cooper reacted to interview clips during which the two lead actresses explain the feminist narrative in the remake.
“It’s no longer 1937,” Zegler says in clip that has gone viral on social media. “She’s [Snow White] dreaming about the leader she knows she can be and the leader that her late father told her that she could be if she was fearless, fair, brave and true.”
“She’s not going to be saved by the prince,” Gal Gadot, who plays the queen in the remake, added emphatically.
“According to the writers of Snow White, women can’t even want to be in love anymore. That’s some outdated construct,” Cooper said in response to the clip. She argued that even in modern society, “the most girl bossy, feminist girls out there that I know still come home and they cuddle up on the couch and you know what they watch? Rom-coms [romantic comedies].”
“We still want to be in love and we still like men and we still want to find a man who will treat us well. But no, that is a very outdated social construct,” Cooper continued sarcastically. “[We] can’t have that anymore. That makes us weak, makes us look bad — even thought that is literally who we [women] are. That is not a bad thing.”
In another interview clip, Zegler says that the 1937 version of Snow White is “extremely dated when it comes to ideas of women being in roles of power and what a woman is fit for.” Similarly, Gadot reiterates that Snow White “is the proactive one” who “sets the terms” in the remake. Both actresses claim that the feminist narrative makes the film “relevant” to modern society.
Cooper, however, argued that the story of Snow White has always been relevant “because that’s what a fairy tale is.” Such stories “have timeless, universal values and lessons that any person — regardless of their age, regardless of their generation — could connect to.”
“You didn’t start these fairy tales,” she added. “People love these for a reason: because of the values. You don’t need to make this girl bossy to make it relevant for young women.”
Lead actress receives backlash for slamming 1937 original
Beyond the changes to the characters and script, conservatives are also scrutinizing Zegler for the manner in which she speaks about the original 1937 film, which is generally derogatory. In one clip circulating on social media, the actress says the movie “very evidently” came out over 85 years ago.
“There’s a big focus on her love story with a guy who literally stalks her,” Zegler said to a reporter. “Weird. Weird. So, we didn’t do that this time.”
Asked if there would be a prince in the remake, the actress said the creators are taking “a different approach” and that “it’s really not about the love story at all, which is really, really wonderful.” The clip concludes with her casually saying that all the lead actor’s scenes “could get cut.”
“She’s a walking PR disaster for Disney,” the conservative account promoting the clip posted on X. Daily Wire host Matt Walsh described Zegler’s words as “a really interesting marketing strategy” wherein Disney promotes its film with the lead actress’s sentiments “about how much she despises Snow White.”
Conservative commentator Liz Wheeler responded to the same clip by wondering why Disney chose this movie to remake over others and why Zegler is involved if the original plot “is so abhorrent.” She also criticized the actress for “gaslighting” individuals into feeling “guilty” about liking the 1937 film and says Zegler’s public words about the project point to an emphasis on “demonizing the idea of a knight in shining armor.”