Almost 7,000 people have signed an online petition, directed at Warner Brothers, over the casting of white actors in non-white roles. Their objection is over the casting of Irish American actress Rooney Mara in the role of "Tiger Lily" in the upcoming movie “Pan”, based on the JM Barrie novel “Peter Pan.”
The petition states, “Warner Bros. just announced Rooney Mara has been chosen to play the role of Tiger Lily, a Native American, in a Peter Pan adaptation. A statement by the studio was unapologetic, and said a black actress and a French actress were first considered for the role.”
The Mexican-Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o, who won a best supporting actress Oscar for “12 Years a Slave,” and French actress Adèle Exarchopoulos, who starred in “Blue is the Warmest Color,” were considered for the role.
The petition continues, “This casting choice is particularly shameful for a children's movie. Telling children their role models must all be white is unacceptable.
'The studio statement mentioned, "The world being created is multi-racial/international – and a very different character than previously imagined." Yet it stars Mara and two white guys - Hugh Jackman and Garrett Hedlund. Not so multi-racial after all, Warner Bros.'
On Twitter Azie Dungey, creator of the web series “Ask A Slave” who has Native American ancestry, started the hashtag #NotYourTigerLily, which has gained significant traction.
Some of the posts include:
thinking about the notion of telling our own stories. Why not? We have enough smart native women here to make it happen. #NotYourTigerLily
— Michele (@singmichele) March 20, 2014
"Whites Only". #NotYourTigerLily
— william white (@3storybooks) March 20, 2014
— rachelle white wind (@whitewindbear) March 20, 2014
Recently there has been similar criticism of Hollywood’s casting choices, including Jared Leto’s character in “Dallas Buyers Club,” for which he won an Oscar. He played a trans woman. Previously Disney also came under fire for casting Johnny Depp as the Native American Tonto in “The Lone Ranger.
In JM Barrie’s classic novel, “Peter Pan,” Tiger Lily is depicted as a Native American princess who is the daughter of Great Big Little Panther, chief of the Picaninny tribe.
The movie “Pan” is set for release on July 17, 2015. Hugh Jackman has been cast as Blackbeard and Garrett Hedlund will play Captain Hook. The lead role of Pan will be played by Levi Miller.
Rooney Mara came to fame with her role as Lisbeth Salander in film adaptation of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." Her more recent roles include “Her” and “Side Effects.”
Her Irish resume is pretty substantial. Her grandfather is Timothy Rooney, the proprietor of Yonkers Raceway in New York and the 2005 Grand Marshal of the New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Timothy’s daughter, Kathleen, is Rooney’s mom. She is also the grand-niece of the former US Ambassador to Ireland, Dan Rooney.
Here’s the link to the petition.
A tribute to Princess Tiger Lilly from the Disney cartoon “Peter Pan”: