Rachel Zegler Reveals Fear for Safety Amid Snow White Casting Controversy

Rachel Zegler, set to star in the live-action Snow White remake, faced backlash over her casting and comments, affecting her mental health and safety. The actress received support from fellow actress Halle Bailey, who faced similar racist backlash for her role in The Little Mermaid.

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Wojciech Zylm
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Rachel Zegler Reveals Fear for Safety Amid Snow White Casting Controversy

Rachel Zegler Reveals Fear for Safety Amid Snow White Casting Controversy

Rachel Zegler, the 23-year-old actress set to star in the upcoming live-action remake of Snow White, has opened up about the tumultuous year she faced at age 22 following the backlash over her casting. In a recent Instagram post, Zegler expressed hope that her new year would bring"a lot less hatred, a lot less being afraid for my safety in public, and a lot more understanding for growing up."

The backlash against Zegler's casting resurfaced old press comments from 2022, where she was perceived as criticizing the original Snow White story and sounding snobbish. Her promise to deliver a "fully feminist reboot" was met with criticism, as was her comment about deserving fair pay for her work: "I'm if gonna stand there 18 hours in a dress of an iconic Disney princess, I deserve to be paid for every hour that it's streamed online."

Zegler also faced criticism for her comments during the 2023 actors' strike, where she advocated for fair wages, and for her remarks during the press run for 'Shazam 2', where she admitted taking the role out of necessity rather than passion. The significant emotional toll of the backlash was evident in her Instagram post, revealing that the actress felt afraid for her safety in public.

In an interview with Andrew Garfield for Variety's "Actors on Actors" session, Zegler addressed the racist backlash, stating, "You don't normally see Snow Whites that are of Latin descent, since Snow White is really a big deal in Spanish-speaking countries. "Garfield says, need, love, white, right, directionemphasizing the importance of focusing on Zegler's role as a Latina princess.

Zegler's comments came on the heels of Peter Dinklage's criticism of the adaptation, which he called "fucking backwards" for its portrayal of dwarves. In response, Disney announced that it is working "to avoid reinforcing stereotypes" in the remake.

As a young and relatively new star in Hollywood, Zegler has found supports from fellow actress Halle Bailey, who faced similar racist backlash for her casting as Ariel in the live-action remake of The Little Mermaid. In an interview for Variety's Actors on Actors segment, Bailey told Zegler, "You proved them wrong with grace," to which Zegler replied, "Of course [it affected me]. I mean, we're sensitive. We're human beings. I get my feelings hurt if my cat doesn't want to sit next to me."

Both actressesemphasized the importance of staying grateful and ignoring the hate. "Choosing thankfulness and gratefulness is choosing peace,"Zegler added, while Bailey concluded,"Stay grateful and ignore the hate. Zegler's Snow White live-action remake is set for a March 2025 theatrical release, while Bailey's The Little Mermaid has already grossed over $569 million worldwide since its spring debut and recently broke a Disney record being the most streamed Disney movie premiere.

Key Takeaways

  • Rachel Zegler faced backlash over her Snow White casting, affecting her mental health and safety.
  • Zegler's past comments on fair pay and feminism were criticized, sparking racist and sexist backlash.
  • She received support from Halle Bailey, who faced similar backlash for her Little Mermaid casting.
  • Zegler emphasized the importance of gratitude and ignoring hate to maintain peace.
  • The Snow White live-action remake is set for a March 2025 release, following Bailey's successful Little Mermaid debut.