Posted on July 17, 2023

Snow White and the Seven… Politically-Correct Companions?

Emma Powell and Iwan Stone, Daily Mail, July 14, 2023

Heigh-ho, heigh-ho it’s off to the job centre they go — for the seven dwarves have been replaced by ‘magical creatures’ for Disney’s live-action remake of Snow White.

The character of the fictional princess, who will be played by Rachel Zegler in the film, has been pictured for the first time with her new companions who appear to be a mix of genders, ethnicities and heights.

The actress, wearing Snow White’s famous yellow and blue dress and a red cape, is trailed by the group who are dressed in brightly coloured clothes and carrying work tools. They were spotted shooting scenes in Bedfordshire on Thursday in pictures obtained exclusively by MailOnline.

The scenes pictured here featured two ‘stand-in’ extras, who were used to film additional photography.

Disney announced that ‘magical creatures’ would replace the seven dwarves to ‘avoid reinforcing stereotypes’ after Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage criticised the ‘f****** backwards story’ last year.

‘I was a little taken aback when they [Disney] 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,’ he told Mark Maron’s WTF podcast. ‘It makes no sense to me. You’re progressive in one way and you’re still making that f***ing backwards story about seven dwarfs living in a cave together, what the f*** are you doing, man? Have I done nothing to advance the cause from my soapbox? I guess I’m not loud enough.’

Disney bosses also came under fire for giving the titular role Zegler, despite the story being about a traditionally ‘fair’ German princess. The film – which also stars Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot as the evil stepmother – is set to be released in March 2024.

Co-written by Barbie’s Greta Gerwig, the upcoming adaptation will not feature a Prince Charming and will instead focus on a ‘stronger’ Snow White who dreams of becoming a leader.

Ms Zegler previously addressed reports that the film was trying to be politically correct, claiming that the story needed ‘refreshing’.

She said: ‘People are making these jokes about ours being the PC Snow White… yeah, it is – because it needed that.

‘Our version is a refreshing story about a young woman who has a function beyond Someday My Prince Will Come.’

The Colombian-American actress faced scrutiny by some critics after she was cast as Snow White, who was described as having ‘skin as white as snow’.

In a since deleted tweet, she wrote: ‘Yes I am Snow White; no, I am not bleaching my skin for the role.’

Disney’s 1937 animated film follows Snow White as she befriends the seven dwarves while hiding from her wicked step-mother who later poisons her with an apple before Prince Charming wakes her from her slumber with a kiss.

It was loosely based on the 1812 fairy tale of the same name by the Brothers Grimm.

Dinklage’s concerns were shared by some charities, including the Restricted Growth Association in the UK.

‘I very much stand with Peter Dinklage on the disappointment and irritation towards Disney for the remake of Snow White,’ Rhonda Cutmore, a member of the association, told The Telegraph. ‘

As a 46-year-old woman with restricted growth, this story has always had a negative impact on me. Not just the physical characteristics, but the labelling of ‘Dopey’ and ‘Bashful’, were not helpful in the playground.

She added: ‘People with restricted growth are in majority born to average height parents – they never live in gingerbread houses, have little bear beds nor live in homogeneous groups together.’

Dwarfism writer Steph Robson said she hoped film producers make an effort to avoid stereotypes in its retelling of the classic movie.

‘It is my hope that the latest live action remake, and Disney, will, at the very least go some way to redress the decades of the one-dimensional stereotypes that our disability continues to experience, especially within arts and cultural settings,’ she told the outlet.

The story has also been criticized as being ableist for portraying the dwarfs with lesser intelligence and Snow White seeing them as children.

The original animated film was based on an 1812 fairy tale from The Brothers Grimm, though the dwarfs in that story lived in a cottage, not a cave.

The story has also been criticized as being ableist for portraying the dwarfs with lesser intelligence and Snow White seeing them as children.

Disney has said it’s ‘taking a different approach’ with Snow White’s seven companions, after Game Of Thrones actor Peter slammed the studio for remaking the ‘backward’ film that reinforces stereotypes.

In a statement last year, the company said it had been consulting with members of the dwarfism community throughout the early stages of production.

‘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,’ a spokesperson said.

‘We look forward to sharing more as the film heads into production after a lengthy development period.’

In December last year, sources close to the production said Snow White’s seven ‘dwarfs’ were not going to be fully computer generated, and wouldn’t be dwarfs at all.

Instead, she would be befriended by magical, forest-dwelling creatures.

A source connected with the production explained that they will be rather like the trolls in Frozen, or JRR Tolkein’s hobbits. They will have two legs, two arms and a face with eyes, nose and a mouth . . . but not be actually human.

They said: ‘We finished filming in the summer but it takes months to sort out the CG for the dwarfs, who aren’t dwarfs. Also, it always takes ages for all the merchandise to be made, so the film’s not out for a long time still.’

Zegler also brushed off scandals after her casting recieved backlash because of her Columbian-American heritage.

In the classic fairytale, Snow White is described as the ‘fairest one of all’ with ‘skin as white as snow.’

Zegler took to social media in June to celebrate the news and fire back at a handful of haters who questioned her casting as the historically white character.

‘yes i am snow white no i am not bleaching my skin for the role,’ she wrote in a since-deleted tweet.

She later said: ‘Never in a million years did I imagine that this would be a possibility for me. You don’t normally see Snow Whites of Latin descent, even though Snow White is a big deal in Spanish-speaking countries.

‘People are making these jokes about ours being the PC Snow White . . . yeah, it is — because it needed that.

‘It’s an 85-year-old cartoon and our version is a refreshing story about a young woman who has a function beyond ‘Someday My Prince Will Come’.’

Marc Webb, director of the Snow White adaptation, said Rachel’s ‘strength, intelligence and optimism’ made her the right choice for the iconic role.

The reboot comes as – since 2020 – Disney have slapped racism warnings on some of its most iconic movies, including Peter Pan and The Jungle Book, to alert viewers to sensitive scenes.

The media conglomerate believes some of its older cartoons contain outdated racial or ethnic stereotypes, and now opens some films with a disclaimer.

It reads: ‘This program includes negative depictions and/or mistreatment of people or cultures.’

Movies with warning include the 1970 musical comedy The Aristocats, 1955 canine love story Lady and the Tramp and 1960 adventure Swiss Family Robinson.

In relation to The Aristocats, Disney warns viewers about a scene where one cat, voiced by a white actor, yells out stereotypical Chinese ‘words’ while playing the piano with chopsticks.

Peter Pan viewers are warned that Native Americans Indians are referred to as ‘redskins’. Disney says scenes in which Peter and The Lost Boys dance in native American headdresses are a ‘form of mockery and appropriation of Native peoples’ culture and imagery.’

The Jungle Book has also been highlighted, namely for its depiction of the ape King Louie, which was accused of perpetuating a stereotype of African Americans.

Elsewhere 1941 release Dumbo comes under fire for its references to racist segregationist laws in the deep south, as well as its use of affected African-American voices.

The lead crow in the film is also called Jim Crow – a reference to the segregation laws in late 19th and early 20th Century America.

Lady And The Tramp has been placed on the list due to its perceived stereotyping of Asians courtesy of Siamese cats Si and Am, while a dog pound features canines with largely ethnic names and accents