It has been more than two years since we’ve last heard an update regarding Walt Disney Studios’ Snow White movie, and now Deadline brings word that the live-action film adaptation of the classic animated film has finally found its titular star in the form of West Side Story actress Rachel Zegler. After several months of searching for the right person to take on one of Disney’s first princesses, the 20-year-old rising star has officially been tapped for the leading role as Snow White, a character previously voiced by the late veteran actress Adriana Caselotti in the 1937 animated film.
According to the outlet’s sources, director Marc Webb and studio executive were all impressed with Zegler’s auditions, especially when they saw early footage of her film debut acting performance as Maria in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming musical remake of the West Side Story. This marks the young actress’s third major project as she is currently in production for Warner Bros. Pictures’ upcoming Shazam! Fury of the Gods.
“Rachel’s extraordinary vocal abilities are just the beginning of her gifts. Her strength, intelligence and optimism will become an integral part of rediscovering the joy in this classic Disney fairytale,” Webb said in a statement.
Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptation of Snow White will be based on the studio’s first animated classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs that debuted over 80 years ago and started Disney’s success with animated films. It was also inspired by the 1812 German fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm.
The animated movie followed the titular princess as she gets exiled into the dangerous forest by her evil stepmother. Fortunately, she was rescued by seven dwarf miners who make her part of their household. However, due to the evil stepmother’s desire to be the fairest of them all, she tricks Snow White into eating a poison apple that would curse the princess into an endless sleep. In order for the curse to be broken, she must receive a true love’s kiss. The movie was nominated for a Best Music Oscar, with Walt Disney winning an honorary award for the film.
Snow White has been in development since 2016, with La La Land and The Greatest Showman duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul attached to write new songs for the adaptation. Set to be directed and produced by Marc Webb from a screenplay by Erin Cressida Wilson, the project is expected to expand the story and music from the original. Production is set to begin in 2022.
This project is part of Disney’s growing list of upcoming live-action projects including The Little Mermaid, Hercules, Pinocchio, and Peter Pan & Wendy along with sequels to The Lion King, Aladdin, and the recently released Cruella.