Entertainment And News

Why People Are Mad At Peter Dinklage For The Live-Action Snow White Casting Of The 7 Dwarves

Photo: lev radin / Shutterstock, Wikimedia Commons
Peter Dinklage & cartoon images of Disney's 7 dwarfs

In a 2022 episode of Marc Maron’s ‘WTF’ podcast, actor Peter Dinklage voiced his opinion on Disney’s live-action remake of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which is set to be released in 2024.

During the interview, Dinklage acknowledged that Disney cast Latina actress Rachel Zegler in the titular role of Snow White. He then criticized Disney’s decision to remake the movie at all, as the whole concept hinges on outdated stereotypes of people with dwarfism. 

Dinklage's interview has resurfaced as people blame him for Disney's casting of the seven dwarfs in the live-action Snow White movie.

Dinklage shared his divisive thoughts on Disney remaking the 1938 animated movie, stating, “There’s a lot of hypocrisy going on. Literally no offense to anyone, but I was 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.’ Take a step back and look at what you’re doing there. It makes no sense to me.”

RELATED: Teacher 'Under Investigation' For Showing Her Students A Disney Movie Shares Her Side Of The Story

He condemned Disney for promoting a hollow and problematic form of representation, saying, “You’re progressive in one way but then you’re still making that f–g backwards story about seven dwarfs living in a cave together, what the f–k are you doing, man?”

Dinklage made clear that his criticism was aimed not at individual actors involved in the project, but at the executives in charge of greenlighting the project in the first place.

He continued, “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?”

On the same day that Dinklage’s interview was published, a spokesperson for Disney issued a statement, claiming, “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. We look forward to sharing more as the film heads into production after a lengthy development period.”  

The day after Disney declared they planned to reexamine casting, the studio shirked any shred of accountability, announcing that the dwarf characters would be replaced by "magical creatures" made with CGI.

RELATED: The Eerie Origins Of Your 7 Favorite Disney Fairy Tales

Recently leaked photos of the Snow White cast filming in England instigated further public outrage. The “magical creatures” that replaced the seven dwarfs appear to be a fairly diverse group of human actors, spanning a range of gender, race, and body type. Some critics are calling out Disney’s casting as “politically correct” and “woke,” both of which are labels that distort the actual issues at play.

RELATED: I Was A Disney College Program Participant & Let Me Tell You, It's Not All Magic

The controversy around Disney’s casting has less to do with what Dinklage said and way more to do with the studio’s narrow-minded worldview.

They gave lackluster lip service to inclusivity and representation. They allegedly seemed to care about breaking stereotypes, yet their actions proved they care only about optics and profits. 

Blaming Dinklage for how Disney cast the characters of the seven dwarfs in Snow White totally misses the point. Dinklage’s critique of Disney is rooted in an essential question. Why does mainstream media continue to uphold one-dimensional, harmful narratives to represent people with dwarfism?

His call for nuanced representations of a community that’s been stereotyped and dehumanized was totally ignored by the studio holding the power to affect change.

RELATED: Inside JFK’s Intimate Relationship With Gay Best Friend Who Had His Own Room In The White House

There are valid criticisms to be made regarding Dinklage’s comments.



Actor Dylan Postl, who has dwarfism, exclaimed, “It’s unfortunate that his voice is the only one representing the dwarf community.” Postl continued, “This is a role made for me and our community for the first time ever. I can't be Superman or Spider-Man or Captain America. I can be one of the seven dwarfs. As a dwarf actor and a part of the dwarf community, this is made for me. It doesn't happen, not in a major setting like this.”

Producer Terra Jolé echoed that sentiment, highlighting the harmful repercussions of Disney listening to only one part of inherently complex issues of identity. She believes the lack of inclusivity goes beyond problems of casting, all the way to what creative opportunities exist, at all. 

RELATED: 8 Odd Details About The Deaths Of JFK Jr. And Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy

Jolé said, “Not only are you not seeing a lot of little people in the acting industry anymore, but you’re not seeing productions being created to give little people an actual role, either.”

Dinklage has worked hard throughout his successful and well-established career to expand public perception surrounding the roles actors with dwarfism can embody. It’s wildly unfortunate that his statement wasn’t truly heard by Disney, who made the decision to pivot in the wrong direction. All Dinklage did was implore the studio to provide rich, textured roles to people who have been categorically denied that kind of representation. He questioned Disney’s reasons for perpetuating harmful stereotypes, instead of funding projects that could be genuinely ground-breaking.

Dinklage isn’t at fault for Disney’s missteps in responding to his valid critique. The weight of that mistake is fully on their shoulders.    

RELATED: Was Judy Garland Molested By 'The Wizard Of Oz' Munchkins? Her Ex-Husband Says So

Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.