Rachel Zegler was thanking her lucky stars to be cast in “Shazam! Fury of the Gods.”
The “West Side Story” breakout actress revealed to The Hollywood Reporter that she “needed a job” before joining the DCU sequel film.
“I’m being so serious,” Zegler said. “The reality was we were in the middle of the pandemic, and I was not working. I couldn’t get a job for the life of me because ‘West Side Story’ hadn’t come out yet. It was really hard to book work for me, so I was really excited when this came in my inbox.”
She added, “I needed a job…I loved the first movie, and the fact that they even wanted me to come in for a callback and then a camera read and everything in between, I’m so lucky that I got this job. I made some of my best friends on this job. I just absolutely adore this movie too, so I’m excited.”
Zegler landed the live-action remake of Disney’s “Snow White” in the titular role shortly after “West Side Story.”
“Never in a million years did I imagine that this would be a possibility for me. You don’t normally see Snow Whites that are of Latin descent,” Zegler said in January 2022. “Even though Snow White is really a big deal in Spanish-speaking countries. Blanca Nieves is a huge icon whether you’re talking about the Disney cartoon or just different iterations and the Grimm fairy tale and all the stories that come with it. But you don’t particularly see people who look like me or are me playing roles like that.”
Zegler continued, “At the end of the day, I have a job to do that I’m really excited to do. I get to be a Latina princess.”
The actress also presented at the 2022 Oscars and is set to lead “Hunger Games” prequel film “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes.” Zegler plays District 12 tribute Lucy Gray Baird, who is paired with an 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow (Tom Blyth) as her mentor. Zegler admitted that she initially turned down the role after she was offered it in January 2022.
“Let me tell you because is such an embarrassing story for me. I was offered it in January of last year after wanting it so badly. I didn’t audition, it was just, I got a call from my agent that was like ‘[Director] Francis Lawrence wants you to do this,’” Zegler said during the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast. “And I met with him for like three hours at the Soho Hotel in London. And then he told me that they were filming in Germany and in Poland and I had just gotten to London and I wanted to disappear because I was so far away from home for the first time ever. And I was away from everybody that I knew and loved, and I said ‘no.’”
Zegler concluded, “And I regretted it the second I said it. I had another project lined up that fell through that got pushed into 2023 and I just kind of put my name back into the mix and got it, and I feel really bad for any of the girls… because I put my name back in and they were just like ‘yup, OK, cool, we’ll do it.’”
.@RachelZegler on why she decided to take on her role in #ShazamMovie: pic.twitter.com/PYaTlrm2Ed
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) March 16, 2023