Peter Dinklage’s Sarcastic Response to ‘Snow White’ Controversy Spotlights a Hollywood Stereotype That’s Alive to This Day

Games of Thrones star Peter Dinklage has become a prolific actor in Hollywood for years. He’s paved an important path. Even without using his fame to explicitly discuss issues faced by people with dwarfism, his thoughtful choices as an actor and dogged self-advocacy have impacted the industry.

That being said, the world of entertainment is far from equitable when it comes to little people. There is a long history of stereotyping, ignorance, and disrespect that must be reckoned with. Dinklage does not identify as an activist. But as a little person himself, there are times when he can’t not speak out. Recently, Disney announced a forthcoming remake of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Dinklage had clear scorn for the project.

Peter Dinklage thinks Disney made a major oversight with ‘Snow White’

Actor Peter Dinklage speaks to the audience at a screening of 'Cyrano'
Peter Dinklage at a screening of ‘Cyrano’ | Amanda Edwards/Getty Images

Disney has recently announced its plans to remake Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It cast Rachel Zegler, a Latina actor, in the lead role. Though the story is simply a redo of an old film, the casting nonetheless has been hailed as an important step for representation. However, the first announcements didn’t give any indication of how Disney would address the eponymous seven dwarfs.

This is what drew Dinklage’s ire. On an episode of WTF with Marc Maron in late January 2022, he criticized the story as being “backward” for how it portrays the dwarf characters.

Dinklage went on to say: “Literally no offense to anyone, but I was a little taken aback. 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, you know? It makes no sense to me.”

Disney responded to Dinklage’s criticism

The criticism is pretty fair. It points out how there are still many groups that aren’t considered in the politics of representation. Though not every little person in entertainment shares Dinklage’s views, Disney did acknowledge the statement and released its own in response.

According to NBC, Disney has said the production team will take “a different approach with these seven characters” and “consult with members of the dwarfism community.” Communities like the little person community aren’t a monolith. So what might come across as a good adaptation to some may be offensive to others. However, it is still worth taking the time to consider what these portrayals might mean to people with dwarfism.

Peter Dinklage has embraced the celebrity bully pulpit at times

Dinklage might be the most famous little person. So even if he doesn’t want to be a voice for the community, he’s had to accept this responsibility at times. In an interview with Playboy, this exact topic came up.

When Dinklage was accepting a Golden Globe in 2013, he discussed Martin Henderson, a British dwarf who was attacked in a “dwarf-tossing” incident, making headlines around the world. Dinklage apparently didn’t “want to be one of those actors with their political causes,” but he ultimately decided he should say something.

Dinklage also makes a statement in a subtler way: by being discriminating with his role choices. Though he came to see it as youthful arrogance in refusing to be defined by his size, he did turn down any role that was too stereotypical. At the same time, he thinks that means he would’ve turned down a role like Tyrion Lannister, which required an actor with dwarfism. It’s certainly a complex trajectory, and perhaps his current criticism of Disney is toned down from what it might have been.

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