Disney plans for live-action ‘Snow White’ stir debate

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photo via wikimedia commons

Disney came under fire by actor Peter Dinklage for the making of a “Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs” live action flim.

Eliza Swanson, Staff Writer

Disney is revising its plans for a live-action remake of the classic animated film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs following actor Peter Dinklage’s criticism.

In recent years, diversity within film has been a top priority for production companies, including Disney. As a result, Disney started to produce both animated and live-action movies that have featured people of color and from a variety of cultures. 

Although animated movies such as Encanto and Soul have proven to be successful, the live-action remakes have not been as well received. 

For example, when Disney announced that a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, starring actress Halle Bailey as Ariel, is set to premiere in theaters in the spring of 2023, fans had mixed emotions. While some fans were pleased to see that a Black actress would be playing a canonically White character, others did not understand the purpose of a live-action remake in the first place. 

A similar situation initially occurred with the news of a live-action Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, starring Colombian-American actress Rachel Zegler as Snow White. Similar to the announcement of The Little Mermaid remake, some applauded the casting as progressive, but others saw the remake as unnecessary. 

However, Dinklage, an actor from Game of Thrones, has criticized Disney’s plans, bringing awareness to how the media and film industry has portrayed dwarfism. 

As a little person himself, Dinklage found it offensive that Disney even considered including “the seven dwarfs” in the remake, saying it would reinforce negative stereotypes surrounding the little people community.  ”

As a little person himself, Dinklage found it offensive that Disney even considered including “the seven dwarfs” in the remake, saying it would reinforce negative stereotypes surrounding the little people community.  

In an episode of Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast, Dinklage questioned Disney’s plans. 

“You’re progressive in one way, and you’re still making that … backwards story about seven dwarfs living in a cave together. What … are you doing, man?” Dinklage said. 

More often than not, little people in the film industry have fallen under the harmful stereotype of comedic relief. In classic children’s films such as The Wizard of Oz (1939) and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971), the Lollipop Guild and Oompa Loompas are depicted as weak, rather unintelligent, and comical. 

In response to Dinklage’s comments, Disney announced that it will be taking a “different approach” to the traditional seven dwarf characters “after consulting with members of the dwarfism community.”  

However, Dinklage’s comments about the live-action remake have sparked controversy within the little people community,

In an op-ed with Daily Mail, actor and WWE star Dylan Postl said, “I don’t have a problem with Snow White. What I do have a problem with is Dinklage putting himself on a pedestal and looking down on jobs that countless dwarfs in the entertainment industry would love to fill.”

Other actors with dwarfism agreed with Postl, saying that the term “dwarf” should not have a negative connotation. 

“Dwarf is a medical term. The condition I have is achondroplasia dwarfism. That is a fact. I am a dwarf. I am hoping they cast little people and give them the work,” actor Jeff Brooks said. “Peter Dinklage may be hurting the chance of some dwarf actors here, [and] it scares me that Disney would change a decision that big over the comment of one actor.”