If you’ve read anything by me before, you know I’m gonna have something to say about Rooney Mara being cast as the character of Tiger Lily in the upcoming remake of Peter Pan – an origin story called Pan.
In fact, you might even be tired of hearing from me at this point, but I’m gonna keep on writing these response pieces, at least until white directors, producers, and actors can stop appropriating the very small percentage of parts that are specifically written and intended for people of color. Whenever that may be. (Sigh.)
But the ironic thing about this casting in particular is even in the announcement, Variety anticipated our concerns, and they’ve prepared a statement explaining that the reason they’ve cast a white person. Oh goody. Can’t wait to read it. Fingers crossed that it includes some kind of excuse about Rooney being part-Cherokee or something and that making it okay, ala Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger.
“The world being created is multi-racial/international — and a very different character than previously imagined.”
Oh okay, sure. Interesting. I’m actually totally fine with that, because I’m assuming it means we’re de-emphasizing race in general for this story. Which is great because the character of Tiger Lily is traditionally presented as a stereotype, most recently by none other than Ireland Baldwin. So bottom line, I can’t wait to get a look at the rest of the cast and see how ethnically diverse it is! I’m sure that whatever roles have been cast so far will present a range of ethnicities that will make Shonda Rimes and I happier than a glass of red wine and a smart cream suit.
Let’s see here…other actors already cast include…Garrett Hedlund and Hugh Jackman. Two decidedly white dudes. Facepalm. True, they’ve barely put a dent in casting, and we’re still a ways out, but do me a favor for a second — name me as many traditionally Native American characters as you can think of. (And it can’t be Tiger Lily or Tonto, because both of those have already been mentioned in this post.) And once you’ve finished that, quick! Name me a well-known Native American actor or actress!
I don’t know how you did with that, but I didn’t do so great, myself. It’s such a narrow field in both cases that it can’t really afford any further narrowing by Hollywood. Rooney’s a talented woman, but it’s a cop out to call this a ‘reimagining’ of the story if all you’re doing is changing her race to white and placing the story in World War II era.
But don’t worry guys — while we wait to see if that’s how it turns out, you can console yourself with the knowledge that they looked at Lupita Nyong’o and Adele Exarchopoulos for the role as well.