Update January 25: In response to Dinklage’s comments, the Walt Disney company released a statement saying that it would take its “Snow White” remake in a different direction. “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,” a Disney spokesman told The Hollywood Reporter.
Published January 24: Disney has found massive success in recent years by making live action adaptations of its classic animated movies. Films like “Beauty and the Beast” and “The Lion King” were box office smashes, capturing nostalgia from older audiences while introducing their most lucrative characters to younger generations. While Disney doesn’t seem to be diverting from the strategy anytime soon, Peter Dinklage thinks that “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” should stay on the shelf.
Disney recently announced that “West Side Story” breakout star Rachel Zegler would be starring in a “Snow White” remake, playing the princess alongside Gal Gadot’s Evil Queen. But in an interview on Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast to promote his role in “Cyrano,” Dinklage had some harsh words for the new remake. He said that while some fans have praised Disney for the racially diverse casting, they miss the larger issue of the way the original film portrays disabled people.
“I was a little taken aback when they were very proud to cast a Latina actress as Snow White. 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,” the actor told Maron. “You’re progressive in one way and you’re still making that fucking backwards story about seven dwarfs living in a cave together, what the fuck are you doing man? Have I done nothing to advance the cause from my soapbox? I guess I’m not loud enough.”
The original “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” was the first full length animated feature from Disney, and remains one of the studio’s most iconic films. Dinklage’s concerns can be interpreted as part of a larger discussion of whether old art can be judged by newer moral standards. As society’s views evolve, the debate over whether problematic works should be buried or studied continues to rage on. For his part, Dinklage doesn’t think the story of “Snow White” needs to be hidden. He just wants to see the problematic aspects addressed, saying “if you tell the story of ‘Snow White’ with the most f—ed up, progressive spin on it? Let’s do it. All in.”