Peter Dinklage Snow White Controversy
Hey gang, huddle up. So in the spirit of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, Disney’s planning another live-action/animation hybrid. This time, they’re taking on Snow White. However, not everyone is thrilled about that. In an interview, for example, Peter Dinklage said the Snow White news was disheartening, to say the least. This upset a lot of Disney fans, which then upset other people. Ladies and gentlemen, the internet. Anyway, Disney has responded now, so let’s get into what all this is actually about.
First, A Little Word About the New Snow White
Fun fact: Snow White is the first movie I ever saw in a theater. And while it engendered a lifetime love for movie-going, it otherwise had little effect on me. I understand its importance as a cultural artifact, mind you, but I have no personal attachment to it. Still, though, I understand that other people feel differently. Disney, for instance, loves the money they can make off it.
Zegler in West Side Story, image via Amblin Entertainment and 20th Century Studios
So unsurprisingly, as I said, they’re going forward with a new version of it that will star real live actors. Specifically, it will star Rachel Zegler, who recently made her film debut in another movie remake, 2021’s West Side Story. (Another fun fact: In her high school productions, Zegler played two other Disney princesses, The Little Mermaid‘s Ariel and Beauty and the Beast‘s Belle.)
Disney’s Snow White, as it’s currently titled, is in pre-production. That means that we know little to nothing about…anything. However, we do know some things. (That’s what I do: I get zooted and I know some things.) We know, for example, that Gal Gadot will be playing the Evil Queen.
In addition, Andrew Burnap has also joined the cast to play a character new to this version. Burnap won the 2020 Best Actor Tony for his performance in The Inheritance. He’s mostly had single episode gigs on TV, but we’ll soon see him in two fictionalized accounts of real-life stories, namely the WeWork series WeCrashed and an adaptation of Jon Krakauer’s Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith for Hulu.
As for the script, that’s less clear. The initial word is that Erin Cressida Wilson wrote the script. Her previous work includes a lot less family-friendly stuff, like Secretary and the adaptation of The Girl on the Train. However, some sources are now reporting that Greta Gerwig will be writing the script. The important detail, though, is that at this point, we have no idea what the story will be like.
Now, About Peter Dinklage and Snow White
Peter Dinklage appeared on an episode of Marc Maron’s podcast, WTF, that came out this week. While Dinklage and Maron talked about a variety of topics, including Game of Thrones spinoffs, one subject made headlines. That, of course, is what Peter Dinklage said about Snow Thee White. The actor criticized the House of the Mouse for their hypocrisy.
Specifically, he called them out for casting a Latina lead, but not modernizing other parts of the story. He said, “Take a step back and look at what you’re doing there. It makes no sense to me. You’re progressive in one way and you’re still making that (effing) backward story about seven dwarfs living in a cave together–what the (eff) are you doing, man?” (He used the actual pay channel language, though.)
He also said, “Have I done nothing to advance the cause from my soapbox? I guess I’m not loud enough.” As a prominent person with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism, Dinklage has been hesitant about becoming a kind of spokesperson about it. As he sees it, people with dwarfism have such varied life experiences that it’s inappropriate for him to speak for or over them.
some show about dragons, idk, image via HBO
Nevertheless, he has made statements about specific incidences in the past. Most notably, during his 2012 acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actor at the Golden Globes, he told viewers to google Martin Henderson. The British man, who appeared in two Harry Potter movies, was seriously injured outside a bar when a random drunk hurled him to the ground. Henderson, who died five years after the attack, believed that the stranger was inspired by England’s rugby team. That’s because one month before the assault on Henderson, the team admitted to attending a “dwarf toss” in New Zealand.
Disney Has Now Responded
As Dinklage’s remarks gained traction on social media, the reaction was divided. Many people agreed with Dinklage. Another subset of folks, who are, shall we say, passionate about all things Disney, did not. In any case, though, the only reaction that really matters is Disney’s itself. As such, the giant corporation wired together enough attorneys and focus groups to issue a statement a day after the podcast released the episode.
anonymous Disney representatives crafting their press release
In an exclusive statement to The Hollywood Reporter, the Mouse said, “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. We look forward to sharing more as the film heads into production after a lengthy development period.”
As the film is, in THR‘s words, “still years from release,” it remains to be seen what impact Peter Dinklage will have on the final version of the film. Perhaps Disney will take his words to heart. Or maybe they’re just hoping we’ll all forget. We’ll see!
In the meantime, you can listen to the Peter Dinklage interview on WTF here.
What do you think about the Peter Dinklage Snow White controversy? Tell us in these comments or on our social media. Remember, as always, to keep things civil–NO DISNEY FIGHTS!
featured image via Disney
Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf. Email her at [email protected]