Disney is ‘consulting with dwarfism community’ after Peter Dinklage’s criticism of Snow White

Kaiser reported on Peter Dinklage’s comments about Disney’s intentions to remake Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs into a live action film. Peter made several salient points about the problems with the film and how it would set back all the work he and others had been doing for years. But he said he wasn’t totally opposed to a film, he just wanted to make sure it was handled properly. He invited Disney to, “tell the story of Snow White with the most f—ed up, cool, or progressive spin on it? Let’s do it. All in.” It seems that Disney was listening. It was reported on Tuesday that the studio was taking another look at their script, this time by talking to the right people. And it appears their actions are in response to Peter calling them on the mat.

Disney has issued a response over its upcoming live-action “Snow White” remake following criticisms made by Peter Dinklage. The “Game of Thrones” Emmy winner blasted the Disney remake during an interview on Marc Maron’s “WTF” podcast, calling out the fairytale’s “fucking backwards” depictions of dwarfs.

“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.”

The live-action “Snow White” film is being directed by Marc Webb, best known for helming “500 Days of Summer” and the Andrew Garfield-starring “Amazing Spider-Man” movies. “West Side Story” breakout Rachel Zegler is starring in the title role, with Gal Gadot also on board as the villainous Evil Queen.

[From Variety]

I’m pleased with how this all went down. I don’t have any great desire for this film to be made, so that’s not a factor. I’ve long been impressed with Peter and the way he handles himself in interviews. And he was particularly adept at this one. Plus, he took on one of the biggest studios, while still allowing them the space to save some face. Which they took, and good for them, because they’ve been really tanking their PR in the press of late.

I haven’t heard the WTF podcast on which Peter and Marc Maron had this discussion yet. I’m curious how it came up but more curious to know if Peter asked for it to be worked into the conversation. Tom and Lorenzo made some astute observations about Peter’s “smart advocacy” once he knew this film was a done deal. As I said, I’m very pleased with how this all went down. I’m glad Disney did their thing but really, I’m most impressed with the way Peter orchestrated this. Still, if the film doesn’t get made, I won’t cry over it. Except I didn’t realize Gal Gadot was going to be the Evil Queen. She’d be camp as hell in that role.

Photo credit: Avalon Red and Backgrid

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19 Responses to “Disney is ‘consulting with dwarfism community’ after Peter Dinklage’s criticism of Snow White”

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  1. tealily says:

    Peter just seems like a cool guy.

  2. CTgirl says:

    He’s cool, a great actor and really savvy in his handling of this remake.

  3. Ry says:

    He’s right

  4. Minnie says:

    I don’t mean this in a terrible way, but could someone explain to me why the story of Snow White is such a controversial one? I just assumed the dwarves in the story were the ones typical of the fantasy genre (ie. Gimli from LOTR), hence the fact that they mine for diamonds etc. Are the dwarves in the original Disney animated one coded as a stereotype of people with dwarfism? Apologies if this is a bit of a silly question, but I am glad Disney is taking strides to address peoples’ grievances!

    • tealily says:

      I think part of the problem is that people stereotype those with Dwarfism because of the fantasy dwarf tropes. Can you imagine growing up with Dwarfism in a world where everyone saw Snow White? It sounds like a nightmare.

      • Robert Phillips says:

        Yes imagine someone with dwarfism growing up seeing this. These short men saved a young girls life from being murdered. Made her part of their family. Changed their own personalities ( the washing up before eating etc.) They fought like hell to protect her. And when they thought she was dead watched over her body for a long time. Imaging a child with dwarfism see this. Yes Disney put silly personalities on them. But that didn’t have anything to do with their height. They could have been giants and had the same personalities. The seven dwarfes were the heros of the movie.

      • Wiglet Watcher says:

        Yes, you can interpret the story that way. But did the audience? No. That’s why many were and still are teased from the depictions in Snow White. Now, if Disney showcases the dwarves as the heroes… that would be better. But they were sidekick helpers and fillers for storyline. Snow White is still seen as a story a princess, wicked and evil queen and a prince.

      • tealily says:

        @Robert yeah, and imagine an entire junior high class whistling every time you walk down the hallway at school, because that’s probably closer to the reality of it. I’m going to go ahead and assume that Peter has a reason for feeling as strongly about it as he does.

    • Willow says:

      There was an interview with a woman who said she’s tired of leaving her professional office job, only to walk past a group of drunk frat boys making fun of her by singing ‘heigh-ho, heigh-ho’ and marching the ‘dwarf duck walk’ you see in Snow White and Willy Wonka.

      • Em says:

        I’m sure every little person has had a lifetime of Oompa loopma jokes directed their way. Peter made huge strides in showing pop culture other characters besides elves and dwarfs.

        There’s no need to give another generation a catchy song to yell at little people just trying to walk home from work.

      • GamerGrrl says:

        My son had a high school teacher with dwarfism. He said the kids would regularly sing “Heigh-ho” while walking by the classroom.

      • tealily says:

        @GamrGrrl, I commented above before I even read this. Kids are nothing if not predictable.

  5. Steph says:

    This is an instance where it is correct to make changes unlike the Beauty and the Beast remake, where they added white feminism bits because Emma Watson, and they weren’t needed in the first place because the cartoon wasn’t anti feminist at all. And don’t even get me started on what they did with Lefou.

    • swiftcreekrising says:

      Beauty and the Beast isn’t anti-feminist? The cartoon where the girl is imprisoned in her father’s place by a guy who has such bad behavior that he’s a Beast, but she can see through the gruff exterior and abusive stuff and eventually falls in love with him? (Not even getting to Gaston or the happy also-cursed servants…)

  6. rea says:

    This film does not need to be remade. None of the Disney films do.

  7. Harmony says:

    @tealily, thank you so much for taking the time to explain it to me!! I figured it had to do with people stereotyping based on fantasy lotr, and I suppose a world like LotR which is a lot more fantastical might allow for some separation between fiction and reality. I do wonder then if all fantasy depictions of drawves would then be considered problematic or if specific context matters.

  8. Willow says:

    People are wondering why the dwarfs in Snow White are a problem…
    It used to be that the only time people saw dwarves was as entertainment, in circuses, carnivals and movies. They were clowns, jugglers, acrobats. Always singing, dancing, talking in high voices. They were cute, funny, mischievous, dressed in silly outfits and often had their skin painted a different color.
    Three popular well known movies, with children’s songs that get played over and over, had these cute, adorable, sidekick dwarves in them: Wizard of Oz, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and Snow White. Dwarfism is rare, so the only exposure people had to dwarves is this silly image, instead them being real people.
    Dwarves are NOT cute dancing characters from a fairy tale but that perception has caused others to treat them that way. They are bullied and laughed at. Adults are treated like helpless children. And it is difficult for them to get jobs and harder to get promoted.