Rooney Mara to Play Tiger Lily in Joe Wright's Adaptation of 'Peter Pan'

March 12, 2014
Source: The Wrap

Rooney Mara

After starring in last year's Best Picture nominated Her from Warner Bros., Rooney Mara is getting comfortable at the studio again with their new adaptation of J.M Barrie's classic tale of Peter Pan directed by Joe Wright. The film is simply called Pan and it already has Hugh Jackman on board as the villain Blackbeard and Garrett Hedlund as a young Captain Hook in this origin story of the flying orphan of Neverland. Mara has landed the role of Tiger Lily, which seems a little odd since she's the princess of the tribe of Native Americans living on the fantasy island. We couldn't just find a talented non-white actress?

The Wrap notes that "Wright is planning to create a world that very international and multi-racial, effectively challenging audiences’ preconceived notions of Neverland and reimagining the environment." But so far that just means a Native American character is being played by a white actress, so we're not sure what all that is about, but there will probably be some uproar about whitewashing the cast.

In the original tale, Tiger Lily is nearly killed by Captain Hook when she is seen boarding the Jolly Roger with a knife in her mouth, but Peter saves her. Wikipedia also notes that in earlier versions of Peter Pan, it is assumed that she disapproves of Wendy and even Tinker Bell because she is believed to have once had romantic feelings for Peter Pan and might have some jealously. It's not clear how this new take on the story will change things up, especially since Hook is supposed to be allies with Pan in this origin story, but we'll keep you posted as the cast continues to fill out.

Find more posts: Casting, Development, Movie News



"We couldn't just find a talented non-white actress?" Why should race matter at all?

Brian Sleider on Mar 12, 2014


Race matters if the opportunities for Native American actors/actresses are few and far between. They almost never get roles where the race of the character DOESN'T matter. But here, we have a character, Tiger Lily, whose ethnicity/race is part of her character and that's stripped away by casting a white actor. Basically, white actors have a bevy opportunities and non-white actors COMBINED have less. Then directors/producers/writers reach into the small pile of POC opportunities and give those to white actors as well. That's a racist practice.

Africa Belgrave on Mar 12, 2014


Thats why white roles get recast with POC? Again race only matters if you allow it to.

Brian Sleider on Mar 12, 2014


White roles being recast with POC actors is the equivalent of scooping snow off the Himalayas with a teaspoon. When you whitewash, its taking a bulldozer to a 6 yr olds snowman. There is absolutely no comparison as to what's more damaging and as to "what matters". Your insistence that "race only matters because you let it matter" is another way of saying "stop believing that people treat you a certain way based on your race". We all know that is absolutely false. So please, don't ever say that to me or any other POC, because it's one of the more dismissive and subversively racist things you can say. Media representation of POCs, in particular women of color (and other marginalized groups) affects how people treat you in the real world. White actors are able to play all types of characters: well written, poorly written, poor, rich, super intelligent, incompetent, hypersexual, desexualized, and everything in-between and many times, their characters will have conflicting traits within them. POC's typically play caricatures or flat stock characters with no backstories, no meaningful relationships, etc. In stories/shows/films where characters die, POCs are killed mercilessly, over and over and over again. These stories are PARTLY responsible for how whites treat us in reality. They're not the only reason but it's a factor. Don't EVER say again that race doesn't matter in the entertainment industry. The history of whitewashing is DEEP and anyone who tells me it doesn't matter or doesn't exist is at best complicit with racism.

Africa Belgrave on Mar 12, 2014


LOL Please do not tell me what to say to any one. Yo sound as though you look at the world in a distorted "the white man controls it all" attitude. No need to discuss it with you further. Race is only an issue if you let it be one.

Brian Sleider on Mar 12, 2014


So you deny the fact that a disproportionate number of executive positions (in all industries) are held by white men? Is that the issue here? There's no need to have further discussion with me because you don't deal in facts. You keep repeating that racist jargon, "race only matters of you let it", because somehow I'm supposed to pretend that my being black doesn't affect how people interact with me. Somehow, you think that your being white doesn't affect how people treat you. I don't know who taught you that but I'm just letting you know, you're wrong.

Africa Belgrave on Mar 13, 2014


Im sure blaming and being angry will get you far in life. Done with the conversation. What color is the president? Oh yeah Country is totally racist. Clearly black men cant go far in this country. Get over it, You seem bitter due to your racist attitude, Im sorry for that.

Brian Sleider on Mar 13, 2014


You're basically full of racist proverbs. "We have a black president, there aren't issues with racism in America". What type of rock do you live under if you think we've gotten past racism in this nation?

Africa Belgrave on Mar 13, 2014


It's a Native American character, so unless that detail has been changed, a white actress should not be taking that role from someone who is actually Native American.

Ethan Anderton on Mar 12, 2014


Again why does the race matter? Johnny Storm is white, he was cast as black, it does not matter, race only matters if YOU the individual lets it.

Brian Sleider on Mar 12, 2014


Okay, you clearly don't understand the difference. There's nothing inherent about the character of Johnny Storm that dictates that he has to be white. However, with a character like Tiger Lily, who is the princess of a Native American tribe, it's not right to have someone who isn't Native American, or who doesn't at least LOOK Native American, play someone of that background. It's the same reason you wouldn't have an African-American play Ronald Reagan, or have a Caucasian actor play Martin Luther King Jr. in a film. Race actually does matter with certain characters. Johnny Storm is not one of them, because there's not a reason that he HAS to be white. Now, there's a chance that Tiger Lily might not be a Native American character in this new version of Peter Pan depending on how the story is written, in which case that would be fine. But a white actress in the role of a Native American princess would be weird.

Ethan Anderton on Mar 13, 2014


I understand the difference I just do not agree (happens sometimes). If we as a people are to ever move beyond silly xenophobic tendencys like racism we have to look past color in all aspects. Moving on from this convo as it looks pointless. No big deal sometimes people do not agree.

Brian Sleider on Mar 13, 2014


I'm happy for Rooney Mara. She's a great actress, very talented, beautiful and deserves to get more attention. Hope to see her in more movies!

DavideCoppola on Mar 12, 2014

14 Maybe no Native American wants to be attached to a film that portrays them as "Red Man" and generalizes them to the silliest of stereo-types. I really hope they rework the story to make them "wild children" and not continue to the ignorant portrayal of Native Americans.

snailtales on Mar 12, 2014


That's still whitewashing. Removal of native heritage from the story is whitewashing. Even if the initial portrayal was poor. Joe Wright had an opportunity to not do an offensive portrayal of a native character and instead decided to just erase it's existence. Out of sight, out of mind? Not really, since the old racist version still exists. And I doubt that "they didn't have any native american actors available to them". These actors barely get any roles, these actors are available.

Africa Belgrave on Mar 13, 2014


There's no guarantee that this new version wouldn't be respectful of Native Americans, and not every version of Peter Pan has to have those stereotypes. There's actually even a chance that Tiger Lily won't be Native American at all in this film, which is why they might have cast Rooney Mara, but we don't know enough about the story to be sure.

Ethan Anderton on Mar 13, 2014

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