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Disney's upcoming live action 'Snow White' has officially cast its princess. Why 'West Side Story's' Rachel Zegler is perfect for the movie.

‘Snow White’: Has Disney found their princess for the live-action movie?

Disney’s upcoming live-action incarnation of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has found its latest princess in West Side Story’s Rachel Ziegler, who will be making her feature film debut this Christmas in the Steven Spielberg-directed adaptation of the Broadway classic. The Amazing Spider-Man’s Marc Webb is set to helm this new incarnation of Snow White, which is set to begin production in 2022. 

Rachel Ziegler, a Latinx actress is finding an impressive slew of projects early on in her career, as she’ll not only be featured as Maria in the upcoming West Side Story but also has an undisclosed role in Shazam 2: Fury of the Gods. This will, interestingly enough, be the third adaptation of Snow White in the last decade, behind Lily Collins’s Mirror Mirror and Kristen Stewart’s Snow White and the Huntsman

That being said, Disney is clearly focused on pumping out as many live-action adaptations of their classic animated features as possible, having just released the Emma Stone lead Cruella on Disney+. Hopefully, Disney’s Snow White will be closer to their live action Cinderella starring Lily James as opposed to the Angelina Jolie lead Maleficent. We have our fingers crossed, but we couldn’t be happier for Rachel Ziegler! 

Who is Rachel Zegler?

Born on May 3rd, 2001, Rachel Zegler was raised in Hackensack, New Jersey, by a mother of Colombian descent and a father from Polish descent. Zegler eventually attended the St. Philip the Apostle Preparatory school in Clifton, New Jersey, only to then attend the Immaculate Conception High School, where she starred in the school’s musicals for four-straight years. 

Rachel Zegler’s high school roles included Belle in Beauty and the Beast, Ariel in The Little Mermaid, Dorothy in 42nd Street, and Fiona in Shrek the Musical. She graduated from high school in 2019, having received multiple Metro Award nominations in the Leading Actress category for all four roles. Zegler also had parts in Legally Blonde, Rent, and Les Miserables.  

In 2018, Steven Spielberg launched an open casting call to find his Maria for his upcoming adaptation of West Side Story, to which Rachel Zegler took to her YouTube account and posted a slew of videos in response, including her singing “Tonight” and “I Feel Pretty”. She landed the role of Maria over a reported 30,000 applicants. Zegler has also landed a mysterious role in the upcoming Shazam! Fury of the Gods in 2023.

Disney live action remakes

While Disney has made previous efforts over the decades to revive their classic animated films into live-action adaptations, such as the late 1990s 101 Dalmatians starring Glenn Close, it is clear that this past decade has been a renaissance attempt on the part of Disney, squeezing every bit of milk money they can out of these beloved properties.

One could point to 2010’s Alice in Wonderland, directed by Tim Burton as their first attempt. Seeing as that film crossed the billion-dollar mark, it was all but confirmed that Disney would be producing a slew of live-action adaptations from their classic tales. Since 2010, we’ve seen films like Dumbo, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, and even The Lion King get the live-action treatment.

It is unclear just how ready an audience is for yet another Snow White adaptation, given that we’ve had a slew of them already this past decade as well as the fact that it is considered to be Disney’s first classic animated feature. However, the tide seems to be turning for these new Disney films, as audiences are excited to see Tom Hanks’s Pinocchio as well as the upcoming Little Mermaid. We’ll just have to wait & see.

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