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Rachel Zegler Says Acting With CGI Characters on ‘Snow White’ Set Was ‘Really Intense’ and ‘So Much Fun’: You’re ‘Singing to Nothing’

Rachel Zegler opened up for the first time during a discussion for Variety’s “Actors on Actors,” presented by “Air,” about what it was like working with CGI characters on the set of Disney’s upcoming live-action “Snow White” movie. Zegler is starring as the iconic Disney princess in the film opposite Gal Gadot as the Evil Queen. “500 Days of Summer” and “The Amazing Spider-Man” filmmaker Marc Webb directed the movie.

Back in October, Disney released a first-look image from the movie that featured Zegler as Snow White surrounded by the seven dwarves. The image confirmed that CGI was being used to bring the dwarves to life and not human actors, which led to a lot of divisive reactions on social media from Disney fans.

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Zegler hasn’t weighed in on the public’s response to her film’s CGI dwarves, but she did tell fellow Disney princess Halle Bailey (“The Little Mermaid”) during an “Actors on Actors” discussion that working with so much CGI on the film made her “nervous” at first. Bailey could understand, as she also acted opposite many CGI co-stars in “The Little Mermaid.”

“This is an iconic thing that people really care about,” Zegler said of taking on the Snow White role. “I don’t want to mess this up for anybody, including myself. The writers and Marc Webb and our entire producing team…it’s a bit different story wise. We were able to do ‘Whistle While You Work,’ which made me really happy and excited. I was really nervous more about the technical element. That first-look image went out… and there’s a lot of CGI in the film.”

Because of the CGI element, Zegler said that she spent most of her day singing alone on set while filming the “Whistle While You Work” set piece. In the 1937 animated film, Snow White sings “Whistle While You Work” while she cleans up her home alongside a bunch of helpful animals and woodland creatures. These animals are likely CGI in the film just like the dwarves.

“Most of that day was spent singing to nothing,” Zegler said. “I’m sure you also know how that can be. There was a lot of puppetry and CGI in post. It was really intense. There’s a lot of bloopers of me tossing a broom and letting it fall to the ground because that’s apparently how you toss things off to CGI characters. But it’s so much fun!”

Variety previously asked Zegler at the London premiere of “The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” about the public’s response to the CGI dwarves in “Snow White,” to which she replied: “I’m just really excited to get to share that movie with everyone in March 2025. We’ve got a lot of magic up our sleeve.”

Read more from Zegler and Bailey’s “Actors on Actors” conversation here. Disney’s live-action “Snow White” film opens in theaters March 21, 2025.

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