Pan movie trailer reveals first look at Rooney Mara as 'too white' Tiger Lily following casting controversy

The white actress is playing the Native American princess

Daisy Wyatt
Wednesday 26 November 2014 12:01
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Warner Bros has released the first trailer for its blockbuster Pan, a remake of the JM Barrie’s famous story.

The trailer gives a first look at US actress Rooney Mara as the ‘Native American’ princess Tiger Lily, a casting decision that proved controversial when it was announced earlier this year.

According to Variety, Warner Bros launched an “exhaustive” search to find the right actress to play Tiger Lily, considering 12 Years A Slave actress Lupita Nyong’o and Blue is the Warmest Colour star Adele Exarchopoulos.

The move to cast white actress Mara in the role sparked an online protest, with angry film fans launching a petition calling for a Native American actress to be given the part.

But the casting executives appear to have ignored Tiger Lily’s roots altogether, casting a white actress to play a white princess with apparently no reference to the character's Native American heritage.

The film’s all-white lead cast including Hugh Jackman, Amanda Seyfried and Gerrett Hedlund has renewed calls to address the lack of diversity in Hollywood films.

In addition to Pan, Ridley Scott’s forthcoming Biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings has also been criticised for casting an all-white cast to play African and Middle Eastern characters.

The Hollywood Diversity Report published earlier this year showed only 11 per cent of films cast an ethnic minority actor in a lead role, while ethnic minority actors made up just 10 per cent of the cast in the majority of movies.

Pan is not intended, however, to be a carbon copy of the original Peter Pan story. An official synopsis states it intends to “offer a new take on the origin of the classic characters created by JM Barrie”.

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Tiger Lily’s Native American heritage has not always been dealt with sensitively in subsequent adaptations of JM Barrie’s story. Even Disney’s much-loved animated film includes the song “What Makes the Red Man Red.”

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