Tyrion Lannister often stirred controversy between the houses of Westeros in Game of Thrones. The man behind the beloved character, Peter Dinklage, has been making waves of his own with his stance on Disney’s upcoming Snow White remake. Following this week’s banter on the WTF podcast, the 52-year-old actor not only caught the attention of the world wide web, but the Mouse House itself, as Disney put out an official statement reacting to his comments.
Speaking this Monday on the WTF Podcast hosted by Marc Maron, the pair went on a tangent surrounding political correctness, known to some as “wokeness”. The My Dinner with Hervé star turned to the upcoming remake of Snow White to point out the hypocrisy in the film industry. Peter Dinklage pointed out that Disney was boastfully promoting their diverse casting of Latina actress Rachel Ziegler in the titular role of Snow White oand Israeli actress Gal Gadot as the Evil Queen, while completely undermining the fact that Snow White also tells a story depicting Dwarfs in negative, silly ways.
With Peter Dinklage’s comments going viral, the big wigs themselves seemed to take attention. Deadline reported that an official statement from Disney read: “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. We look forward to sharing more as the film heads into production after a lengthy development period,” It is hard to pinpoint whether or not Disney’s statement on the matter is an outright plea for the company to avoid controversy, or if the studio’s plan was to always reinvent the Seven Dwarfs to a more relatable manner.
On one hand, Disney has been taking great strides to incorporate diversity and inclusivity into its mission statements. In 2021, the most magical company in the world launched the Reimagine Tomorrow digital destination, Disney’s first large-scale platform for amplifying underrepresented voices and untold stories to build on the companies commitment to diversity. As it’s no secret that the company has a long and controversial history regarding the topic, Disney has taken strides in the past few years to remove or label older material deemed offensive. Similarly, the last two decades have introduced more diverse characters into their stories with films like Encanto, Coco, and Moana. In fact, the Mouse House even has cultural consultants on all of its films.
While the Snow White remake is still far from debuting, a look back at the long history of the fairy tale can give more insight into Peter Dinklage’s views. Based on the 1812 fairytale by the infamous Brothers Grimm, Disney’s 1937 animated film paved way for just about every classic Disney film to date. But on the other hand, the portrayal of the dwarfs has often been criticized. Even a look at some of the other remakes of the beloved fairytale shows how studios haven’t grasped the concept of portraying people with Dwarfism well on film. The 2012 film Snow White and the Huntsmen didn’t even bother to cast Dwarfs for the seven roles — instead casting full-sized actors being shrunk with digital manipulation.
As the controversy builds over Disney’s upcoming remake, fans will be waiting quite a while to see how Disney’s promise of inclusivity pans out with the dwarfs. While it’s great that Peter Dinklage called out the hypocrisy often seen not only from Disney but much of the world, we can always hope that Disney had plans all along to revamp the beloved dwarfs. While we wait, we can wishfully hope the quarrel between Dinklage and Disney could possibly land the beloved actor a role as one of Snow Whites’ little friends after all.