Due for release in late 2024, this classic fairytale adaptation will be the studio’s latest in a series of movies that have transported their golden and silver-age animated classics into the real world. Previous hits have included the likes of Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland in 2010, Jon Favreau’s The Jungle Book in 2016 and Robert Zemeckis’ Pinocchio in 2022.
Their latest, Rob Marshall’s reimagining of The Little Mermaid, starred Halle Bailey and Melissa McCarthy and hit cinemas in early 2023. With Snow White next up to bat, details have start to emerge about what her journey to the world of live-action might look like - and it hasn’t been without a few speedbumps.
Read more: All the new Disney live-action remakes
Here’s everything we know about it so far, including its release date, plot, cast, controversies and more…
When is Disney’s live-action Snow White released?
Disney’s live-action Snow White adaptation is due to hit American cinemas on Friday, 22 March 2024.
While unconfirmed, it’s a safe bet that this is when the movie will hit UK cinemas too, and if previous Disney live-action releases are anything to go by, we can likely expect the movie to hit the studio’s Disney+ streamer shortly after its theatrical run ends.
Who is starring in Disney’s live-action Snow White?
Initially announced in 2016, Disney’s new take on Snow White will be directed by The Amazing Spider-Man filmmaker Marc Webb and based on a screenplay co-written by American playwright Erin Cressida Wilson and Barbie’s Greta Gerwig.
Rachel Zegler will star in the titular role of Snow White, taking Disney’s first princess and ushering her into a non-animated world. This also marks a move towards more diverse casting in Disney’s live-action adaptations, with a Hispanic actor inheriting a role that was originally depicted as white.
“Never in a million years did I imagine that this would be a possibility for me. You don't normally see Snow Whites that are of Latin descent,” said Zegler during a round-table interview.
“You don't particularly see people who look like me or are me playing roles like that. When it was announced, it was a huge thing that was trending on Twitter for days, because all of the people were angry.
“We need to love them in the right direction. At the end of the day, I have a job to do that I'm really excited to do. I get to be a Latina princess.”
Zegler will be familiar to viewers thanks to her performances in Steven Spielberg’s musical West Side Story and more recently, an appearance in the 2023 superhero sequel Shazam! Fury of the Gods.
Speaking of superheroes, Wonder Woman herself, Gal Gadot, will join Zegler on screen as the Evil Queen hell-bent on getting rid of Snow White as soon as she discovers that she’s the fairest in the land.
Other key roles include the Huntsman, a hired hand who’s employed by the Evil Queen to take Snow White into the forest and kill her before he comes to his senses and refuses to do the deed. In Webb’s movie, the Huntsman will be played by British actor Ansu Kabia, a star who you may recognise from Netflix’s recent adaptation of The Sandman.
Meanwhile, American stage and TV star Andrew Burnap joins the movie in a new role as a character named Jonathan who will reportedly take over the role of the Prince. Dujonna Gift is playing Mapel and British actor Colin Michael Carmichael playing an as-yet-undisclosed role.
What is the plot of Disney’s live-action Snow White?
While the plots of many Disney live-action adaptations have stuck incredibly close to their original animated counterparts - sometimes jarringly so - we can likely expect many of the key beats of Snow White to be the same.
That said, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the original movie was released way back in 1937 and much has changed culturally between then and now.
Inspired by the Brothers’ Grimm fairytale, the film follows an Evil Queen who is jealous of Snow White’s beauty and orders a Huntsman to kill her so she can be the most beautiful person in the land.
Taking her deep into the woods, the Huntsman ultimately can’t bring himself to kill Snow White and, after running away, she befriends the seven dwarfs, Grumpy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Bashful, Happy, Dopey and Doc. After eating a poisoned apple created by the Evil Queen, Snow White falls into a deep sleep only to be awoken by a Prince.
Considering the movie’s murderous undertones and damsel-in-distress/male saviour themes, it’s difficult to imagine Disney sticking that closely to the original movie’s plot. In fact, the modernisation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has been alluded to by Zegler during a D23 Expo interview.
“It’s no longer 1937… She’s not gonna be saved by the prince.”
How many billions will this Snow White remake cost Disney? pic.twitter.com/b6MTmhynS9
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) July 23, 2023
“It’s no longer 1937 . . . She’s not going to be saved by the prince, and she’s not going to be dreaming about true love. She’s dreaming about becoming the leader she knows she can be.”
Based on the powerful feminist elements featured in Gerwig’s brilliant Barbie movie, perhaps we can expect Snow White to get the same treatment in her jump from animation to live-action.
Live-action Snow White controversy
While the movie has been praised for its diverse casting of Hispanic actress Zegler in its lead role, Webb’s movie has hit controversy during its production — specifically regarding its dwarf characters.
During a visit to Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast in 2022, Game of Thrones actor Peter Dinklage, a star who also has dwarfism, criticised the decision to reboot the movie at all.
“Literally no offence to anyone, but I was a little taken aback when they 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. Take a step back and look at what you're doing there. It makes no sense to me,” he told Maron.
“You're progressive in one way, but then 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 soap box? I guess I'm not loud enough.
“I don't know which studio that is, but they were so proud of it. All love and respect to the actress and all the people who thought they were doing the right thing. But I'm just like, what are you doing?”
As a result, Disney responded by highlighting how they were taking a “different approach” to the casting of the movie’s dwarf characters. As per their official statement, the studio explained: “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.”
With the film having wrapped production, we know that only one actor with dwarfism will appear in the movie, with Pirates of the Caribbean star Martin Klebba playing Grumpy. The remaining dwarf characters will reportedly be played by six diverse, non-dwarf actors of various genders and ethnicities which take their cues from German folklore.
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) July 14, 2023
However, this too sparked an additional controversy with some right-wing media outlets and voices labelling the remake too “woke” and others suggesting the move has robbed the dwarfism community of high-profile roles.
Live-action Snow White trailer
Currently, there is no trailer available for Disney’s live-action Snow White.
That said, some early footage featuring Zegler’s Snow White, Gadot’s Evil Queen and many key moments from the story were unveiled to audiences during Disney’s D23 Expo in late 2022 and reports were positive.
Perhaps we’ll get to see it for ourselves soon.
Disney's live-action Snow White will be released in cinemas on Friday, 22 March 2024.