Rachel Zegler’s royal coronation is around the corner…
The 20-year-old half-Colombian American actress and singer will star as Snow White in Disney’s live-action adaptation of the classic film that started it all for the studio’s legendary slate of animated features.
Marc Webb will direct the film, with Marc Platt producing. Production is expected to begin in 2022.
“Rachel’s extraordinary vocal abilities are just the beginning of her gifts,” said Webb of the actress who will star as Maria in Steven Spielberg’s new retelling of West Side Story. “Her strength, intelligence and optimism will become an integral part of rediscovering the joy in this classic Disney fairytale.”
The original Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs cartoon, based on the Brothers Grimm fairytale, was released in 1938.
It was Disney’s inaugural animated feature and became a massive success for the studio.
Insiders say the live-action film will expand upon the story and music from the original. Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the Oscar– and Tony Award-winning duo behind La La Land, The Greatest Showman and Dear Evan Hansen, will write new songs for the film.
The studio had been taking its time on the live-action adaptation because they wanted to get the music right, and insiders says higher-ups are excited with what Pasek and Paul have come up with so far.
As for the casting process, Webb and studio execs had been meeting with talent for several months for the role of Snow White. Zegler’s auditions impressed everyone, insiders say, but another factor was footage from West Side Story that blew away the Disney studio brass who’ve seen it, and helped push the decision across the finish line.
The casting also marks a step in the right direction of Disney diversifying its Disney Princess characters, after tapping Halle Bailey to play Ariel in the upcoming live-action The Little Mermaid film.
Zegler was just 17 when she beat out more than 30,000 actresses for the lead role of Maria in West Side Story. The new adaptation will debut on December 10 and also stars Ansel Elgort and Rita Moreno.
She’ll also star in her first big comic-book film, joining Zachary Levi in D.C.’s Shazam! Fury of the Gods.