'You're progressive in one way, but then you're still making that fu**ing backward story about seven dwarfs living in a cave together?' the star said.
Emmy-winning "Game of Thrones" star, Peter Dinklage, this week blasted Disney's plans for its upcoming live-action "Snow White" remake, sparking a heated online discussion about how Hollywood depicts people with dwarfism. During his appearance on Monday's episode of the podcast "WTF with Marc Maron," the 52-year-old told Maron he was "a little taken aback" when the studio celebrated casting "West Side Story" breakout Rachel Zegler—who is of Colombian descent—as the titular character. "Literally no offense to anyone, but I was a little taken aback when they were very proud to cast a Latina actress as Snow White, but you're still telling the story of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,'" Dinklage said.
Peter Dinklage calls out Disney’s ‘SNOW WHITE’ remake, saying “you’re progressive in one way and you’re still making that fucking backwards story about 7 dwarfs living in a cave together… Have I done nothing to advance the cause from my soapbox?— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) January 25, 2022
(via: https://t.co/9qT3qHyhrk) pic.twitter.com/5pJZzg3SMO
"Take a step back and look at what you're doing there. It makes no sense to me. You're progressive in one way, but then you're still making that fu**ing backward story about seven dwarfs living in a cave together? What the f**k are you doing, man?" he added. "Have I done nothing to advance the cause from my soapbox? I guess I'm not loud enough. I don't know which studio that is but they were so proud of it. All love and respect to the actress and all the people who thought they were doing the right thing. But I'm just like, what are you doing?" According to NPR, Dinklage added that he would enthusiastically support a more sensitive retelling of the 1937 film with a "cool, progressive spin on it" but wasn't otherwise convinced.
2/ First things first: It is always up to the members of a marginalized group to decide whether or not a certain media portrayal is offensive. And ONLY to them - the rest of us don't get to make that choice for them!— Jürgen Hubert (@FranconianExile) January 26, 2022
4/ Furthermore, while I love European folklore (and German folklore in particular), I am fully aware that it is rife with racism, sexism, ableism, and many other types of bigotry. When discussing folklore, we should absolutely discuss this as well.— Jürgen Hubert (@FranconianExile) January 26, 2022
On Tuesday, Disney issued a response addressing Dinklage's criticisms about the forthcoming remake of the 85-year-old film, which was the studio's first animated feature and a major box office success. "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 spokesperson for Disney said in a statement to Variety. "We look forward to sharing more as the film heads into production after a lengthy development period."
"They were very proud to cast a Latina actress as Snow White... You’re progressive in one way and you’re still making that f**king backwards story about seven dwarfs living in a cave together, what the f**k are you doing, man?" - Peter Dinklage pic.twitter.com/IyEw8bPxx3— IGN (@IGN) January 26, 2022
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the live-action "Snow White" film—which is being directed by Marc Webb, best known for helming "500 Days of Summer"—is still years from release. Similar to live-action films of the likes of "Aladdin" and "Mulan," "Snow White" will reportedly have cultural consultants. The film has been in development for three years already and the studio has reportedly been reimagining the seven dwarf characters since the earliest stages and intended for the characters to be CG/animated. In addition to Zegler, Tony Award winner Andrew Burnap and "Wonder Woman" star Gal Gadot will also appear in the live-action feature.
Dinklage, who has a form of dwarfism called achondroplasia, has long used his platform to fight Hollywood depictions of dwarfs as leprechauns or elves. In a 2012 interview with the New York Times Magazine, he said that dwarfs "are still the butt of jokes. It's one of the last bastions of acceptable prejudice." In another interview the same year, Dinklage revealed that he has tried his best to find roles that upend the stereotypical roles given to actors with dwarfism, even if he hasn't always been successful. "You do have to make a living," he said at the time. "I do not fault anyone else who makes choices to play characters that they wished they hadn't... Because at the end of the day, none of us are happy with our jobs all the time."