While out promoting his new movie Cyrano, Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage called out Disney for its upcoming live-action adaptation of Snow White. The new version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs — not to be confused by non-Disney projects, Snow White and the Huntsman and Mirror, Mirror — stars Rachel Zegler (West Side Story) as Snow White and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) as the Evil Queen.
“I was a little taken aback by [the fact] they were very proud to cast a Latina actress as Snow White,” Dinklage said on Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, “but you’re still telling the story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”
Dinklage has a form of dwarfism called achondroplasia. Though Disney seems to be trying to rectify the homogenous white history of its productions in the upcoming film, Dinklage sees any remake as playing into outdated stereotypes about little people. There’s no Snow White without the seven dwarfs, in theory.
“You’re progressive in one way but you’re still making that fucking backward story of seven dwarfs living in the cave. What the fuck are you doing, man? Have I done nothing to advance the cause from my soapbox? I guess I’m not loud enough,” Dinklage told Maron during the interview, released on Monday. “They were so proud of that, and all love and respect to the actress and the people who thought they were doing the right thing, but I’m just like ... what are you doing?”
A previous Snow White retelling — Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Kristen Stewart — was met with backlash in 2012 after casting actors without dwarfism, including Bob Hoskins and Ian McShane, to play Snow White’s friends. Dwarfism advocacy group Little People of America condemned the movie, calling the casting “akin to blackface”. Mirror, Mirror, which also came out in 2012, did cast actors of short stature in the dwarf roles.
The upcoming Snow White movie, directed by The Amazing Spider-Man’s Marc Webb, will be an adaptation of Disney’s 1937 classic, as well as an expansion of the Grimm fairy tale. Aside from Zegler and Gadot, Andrew Burnap has been cast in a mysterious male lead role. None of the dwarfs have been cast. Currently, there is no release date set for the film.
Update: Shortly after Dinklage’s comments went live on the WTF podcast, Disney issued a statement in response. “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,” a Disney spokesperson tells Polygon. “We look forward to sharing more as the film heads into production after a lengthy development period.”