Disney, having decided to exclude dwarves from their live-action Snow White remake, is now set to feature a black female “magical creature” in a prominent role.
In the latest twist of the classic fairy tale, Disney’s live-action remake of Snow White is stirring up quite the controversy. The first wave of set images has revealed a Snow White who is, ironically, not snow white, not even white. Played by Columbian-American actress Rachel Zegler, this Snow White is a far cry from the porcelain-skinned princess we’ve known for decades.
The second wave of surprise comes from the seven “dwarves” who, upon closer inspection, may not be “dwarves” at all. Instead, they appear to be a diverse group of individuals who wouldn’t look out of place at a late 60s or early 70s hippie gathering.
Among this eclectic group, a black female stands out, played by the relatively unknown American-Jamaican actress Dujonna Gift, whose name is pronounced, quite fittingly, ‘Do y’wanna’. Gift is credited as Maple, a name that stands out among the other actors who are simply referred to as ‘Artisan 1’ and so forth. This suggests that Maple may play a significant role in the narrative.
This casting decision has sparked a flurry of reactions on Twitter, ranging from criticism of “woke culture” to sarcastic accusations of ableism for not including a character in a wheelchair. One user questioned the logic behind casting a non-dwarf to play a dwarf and a non-white actress to play Snow White, asking, “Have any of these people even read the original stories and fairy tales?”
In response to the controversy, Disney has stated that they are hoping to “avoid reinforcing stereotypes” and have been consulting with members of the dwarfism community. According to a report by TheWrap, Disney will replace the dwarfs with “a group of what they describe as ‘magical creatures.'” The specifics of these roles remain unclear, as does their correlation to the seven dwarfs we know from the original movie.
Peter Dinklage, a former Game of Thrones star, has criticized the movie, calling it a “f-cking backwards” depiction of dwarfs. He questioned Disney‘s decision to cast a Latina actress as Snow White while still telling the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. “You’re progressive in one way but then you’re still making that f-cking backwards story about seven dwarfs living in a cave together,” Dinklage said in an interview with the WTF Podcast.
Disney’s stance that the classic animated movies are toxic and troublesome for the “modern audience” has added fuel to the fire. It seems that in their attempt to modernize and diversify, Disney has stepped on a few toes. Whether this will affect the reception of the movie remains to be seen.
As we await the release of Disney’s new Snow White, one thing is clear: this is not the fairy tale we grew up with. It’s a new narrative for a new generation, and only time will tell if it’s a happily ever after or a grim(m) tale.