Rachel Zegler Responds To Being Cast As The First Live-Action Disney Princess

Rachel Zegler confesses being cast in the live-action Snow White remake had her "freaking out" at first.

By Joshua Jones | Published

The upcoming live-action Snow White film–which will star Rachel Zegler as the titular hero and Gal Gadot as the Evil Queen–was recently spotlighted at Disney‘s D23 Expo. Zegler, spoke with ComicBook‘s Brand Davis about her experience on set and what it meant to portray the first ever live-action Disney Princess. The actress admitted that she freaked out a little over the excitement and pressure of playing Snow White.

“Well, I have to work really hard to get out of the little girl in me because I was freaking out.. I was squealing, and crying. Sandy Powell was looking at me like, ‘What is going on with you?’ It’s incredible, being to be an iconic princess. To be the first Disney Princess, it’s the biggest responsibility and so much pressure. It’s amazing.”

Marc Webb, the director of The Amazing Spider-Man franchise for Sony, is behind the helm of the remake. When discussing the director, Rachel Zegler discussed one of his motivating factors for stepping behind the camera . She revealed that Webb is “dedicated” to creating a “hero princess for his daughter.”

Speaking of The Amazing Spider-Man, Rachel Zegler sat down with former Spider-Man himself, Andrew Garfield. She discussed the fan reaction to her being cast in the iconic Disney Princess role during their interview as part of Variety’s Actors on Actors series. While the actress admitted the reaction to her casting wasn’t exactly what she hoped for, it didn’t deter her from staying positive. Zegler said she appreciates that someone of Latin descent can play such a prominent role.

In addition to Rachel Zegler’s casting as Snow White, the film will also see actress Gal Gadot take on the evil stepmother role. Oscar-nominated director and writer Greta Gerwig was confirmed to be writing the screenplay for the project. During an interview with ExtraTV, Zegler teased that the remake would be much stronger than the original animated film.

Rachel Zegler has been on many film studios’ radars since her breakout role in Steven Spielberg‘s West Side Story. Zegler played the role of Maria opposite actor Ansel Elgort. The film was nominated for several awards, including Best Picture at the Oscars.

rachel zegler
Rachel Zegler in West Side Story (2021)

Her work in the film earned the actress numerous accolades. In 2021, the National Board of Review named Rachel Zegler, the Best Actress of the year. She was also nominated for Best Young Actor/Actress at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards.

Rachel Zegler is set to appear in a few other major tentpole projects. She recently was cast in one of the starring roles in the upcoming film adaptation of the Hunger Games prequel novel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. Zegler also will appear in the upcoming DC project Shazam! Fury of the Gods.

While Rachel Zegler’s casting may’ve upset some online, there’s no denying that the actress is greatly sought after. She began filming for the upcoming Snow White remake in March this year. The project was initially set to start filming in March 2020 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Promotion for the project officially began at this year’s D23 Expo. Rachel Zegler and Gal Gadot greeted the fans in attendance and spoke about their roles in the remake. During the presentation, Gadot teased that her role as the Evil Queen was “very different” from what she had previously done.

The Rachel Zegler-led project comes after the success of other Disney live-action remakes such as Beauty & The Beast and The Lion King. Both films went on to gross over $1 billion at the worldwide box office. If the upcoming Snow White remake is able to impress audiences, perhaps it could also receive the same box office return. The film is set to release in theaters sometime in 2024.