Rachel Zegler’s upcoming breakout role as Maria in Steven Spielberg’s new retelling of West Side Story is still approaching this December, but she already appears to have another big role underway. According to Deadline, sources reveal that Zegler is set to star as Snow White in Disney’s new live-action adaptation. Marc Webb will direct and production is expected to begin in 2022.
Webb tells Deadline, “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.”
The original Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs cartoon was based on the Brothers Grimm fairytale and released in 1938. It was Disney’s very first animated feature and led the studio’s legendary slate of animated films to come. Insiders also tell Deadline that the live-action will expand on the story and music from the original.
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul will write new songs for the movie. The Oscar and Tony-winning duo have been extremely successful with their work in La La Land, The Greatest Showman, and Dear Evan Hansen. Disney is taking its time with this adaptation to make sure it gets the music right, and Pasek and Paul seem just right for the job.
As for the casting process, Zegler’s auditions impressed everyone, but exclusive footage from West Side Story was what really blew them away and got her the role. The decision also marks a step in the right direction for the studio in diversifying its Disney Princess characters, after getting Halle Bailey to play Ariel in the upcoming live-action The Little Mermaid movie.
Zegler is no stranger to big auditions, beating out more than 30,00 actresses in West Side Story for the lead role of Maria as a 17-year-old high schooler. The new adaptation will be released on December 10 and also stars Ansel Elgort and Rita Moreno. Prior to that, she is also joining Zachary Levi in her first big comic-book movie for D.C.’s Shazam! Fury of the Gods.
It’s exciting to see a young actress make her claim to fame under so many renowned titles already, so stay tuned to watch her on the big screen!