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Snow White: West Side Story star Rachel Zegler to lead Disney's live-action remake

Rachel Zegler in West Side Story
(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

Rachel Zegler is set to bring Snow White to life in an upcoming live-action remake from Disney.

Deadline's sources indicate that early West Side Story footage was instrumental to securing Zegler the role. Zegler will play Maria in Steven Spielberg's adaptation of the famous stage show.

"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," director Marc Webb said.

Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who penned songs for The Greatest Showman, Dear Evan Hansen, and La La Land, are writing new songs for the Snow White remake. According to Deadline's sources, the movie will "expand upon the story and music from the original," and Disney have reportedly moved slowly with the adaptation to ensure the music is right, with higher-ups said to be happy with Pasek and Paul's work.

Zegler tweeted about the news, posting "*rubs hands mischievously*" after previously tweeting "i love you disney princess cinematic universe" in response to her own Tweet about Halle Bailey playing the live-action Ariel in the upcoming The Little Mermaid remake. While Belle (Beauty and the Beast), Cinderella, Mulan, Sleeping Beauty (Maleficent), and Jasmine (Aladdin) have all had the live-action treatment so far, this is the first Snow White live-action movie from Disney.

The original Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was Disney's first feature-length movie, as well as the first-ever feature-length animated film. It received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score, and at the following Oscars ceremony, producer Walt Disney was famously presented with an honorary Academy Award by Shirley Temple in the form of one regular-sized statue and seven miniatures.

Alongside West Side Story, Zegler will also be seen in an undisclosed role in Shazam 2, officially titled Shazam! Fury of the Gods, which is due out in 2023. There's no release date for the Snow White movie just yet, though Deadline say the film will go into production in 2022. Until then, check out our guide to all of 2021's upcoming movie release dates to plan those theater trips.

I'm an experienced online writer with articles published on film, TV, and pop culture. I am currently working at GamesRadar+ as a freelance Entertainment Reporter. I previously worked on the Disney team and freelanced on CBeebies magazine with Immediate Media.