DBHS Student Publication.

The Bull's Eye

DBHS Student Publication.

The Bull's Eye

DBHS Student Publication.

The Bull's Eye

Maintaining On-Screen Personas

I grew up surrounded by screens filled with magical fairytales, their stories pure and sweet, intricate in a universe of their own. However, in the age of stale live-action remakes, Hollywood actors and actresses have become increasingly involved in the interpretation of these stories, as their personal characters intertwine with the ones we see on screen. Their every action and controversy takes away from the magic of the tales they have been entrusted to bring to life.

Considering the weight of public opinions, both Hollywood companies and actors need to do more in maintaining positive personas for public attention, since their actions outside of their respective films heavily affect the project’s first impressions and ultimately, box office success. 

An unfortunate example of a movie impacted by widespread disapproval for its lead actress is Disney’s live-action remake of the beloved classic, Snow White, set to release in March of 2024. Rachel Zegler, who was announced to play Snow White in the live-action, started her Disney princess career by publicly expressing her distaste for the 1937 original film.

Claiming that the movie scared her as a child, Zegler shared that she had watched “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” once and never revisited it again until she was in the cast. The actress also praised the remake’s change in storyline, which scrapped Snow White’s original sweet and caring nature to instead put an emphasis on her hidden leadership qualities, revealing  “the leader she knows she can be,” without the support of a prince. 

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Being an advocate for feminism is not a bad thing; in fact, it is important to call for representation in an environment that lacks inclusivity, such as Hollywood. However, Zegler’s progressive ideas alone did not land her in hot water, rather, the way she expressed herself throughout the movie’s promotional interviews left longtime viewers with a bad taste in their mouths. Fans of Disney found her to be “ungrateful” for her role because of her attitude towards the original. This controversy was coupled with racist ideology on social media, as some commenters opposed the idea of a Colombian woman portraying a princess who is quite literally characterized by her pale skin. 

Though race shouldn’t be an issue in these live action remakes, erasing Snow White’s complete identity into somebody completely new was a mistake on Disney’s end. Changing the entire narrative diminishes the beauty of the original film and capitalizes off of modern feminism without making any real commentary, where a princess falling in love with a prince is now perceived as helpless and weak. If Disney truly wanted to be more inclusive of these roles of leadership, they should be creating new storylines of women being the heroes, rather than altering old storylines to fit the present day narrative.

Despite the role of production in the controversial switch-up to become more “modern,” Zegler’s obvious lack of media training contributed to the decline in public interest of the film. This neglect of public image by both parties could have been avoided if they had just taken a moment to remember the impact of outside factors on the success of the project as a whole.

On the other hand, Disney also struggles to keep its movie stars out of political trouble. Proven by past incidents, Disney’s attempt at inclusion is often profit-driven, not taking into consideration the position of actors and their personal backgrounds. 

In 2020, leading actress Liu Yifei of another live action remake– “Mulan, outraged movie-goers when she showed public support for the Hong Kong police amidst heavy student protests. It was also revealed that part of the film was recorded in Xinjiang, controversial due to the province’s ties to Uyghur internment camps. 

Although actors are entitled to their own opinions, they must be mindful of when and how they weigh in on charged political moments because they are in the public eye. Liu’s public support for the Hong Kong police was brutally ignorant in a time of crisis, and that was enough for people to end all support for Mulan. Hashtag #boycottmulan was created, calling for the boycott of the movie worldwide. Disney faced around $140 million in losses, yet failed to learn from this when they slipped into trouble again in the production of Snow White. 

Movie stars have done enough to destroy the cherished stories trying to be retold, it is time for them to step up and recognize the damage their controversies have and will cause. It is without a doubt that actors and actresses have a huge impact on whether their movie has a positive public image. As the faces of large projects, they should keep their controversial opinions away from the public eye to protect the film.

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About the Contributor
Ariel Shan, Asst. Opinion Editor

Pronouns: She/her Years on staff: 1 Instagram: arielshan Life Motto: Live in the moment Unique thing about yourself: My birthday is may12 Silliest childhood fear: The dark Celebrity crush:  Dream job: Some marketing manager somewhere Job you would be terrible at: Uber driver Favorite movie/show/video game/etc: Money Heist Favorite artist/genre/song/album: wave to earth Most embarrassing thing that's ever happened to you: Running over traffic cone 

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