Rooney Mara Casting as Tiger Lily Sparks Controversy

By: Erin Hall - March 23, 2014

Actress Rooney Mara is no stranger to the dust-up that inevitably occurs after a film adaptation of a novel announces its cast list. Her role as Lisbeth Salander in the American adaptations of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo subjected her to both novel fans’ idealistic expectations and comparisons to Swedish adaptation actress Noomi Rapace.

However, her latest casting as Tiger Lily in the upcoming Warner Bros. Peter Pan adaptation Pan is ruffling feathers for a much different reason.

The reason: Tiger Lily is a Native American princess. Rooney Mara is of Irish, German, French-Canadian and Italian descent, but not Native American.

The backlash was immediate. With the number of Native American roles already so small, many asked, why give Tiger Lily’s role to a white actress? Native American roles make up only a minuscule .3 percent of total roles, according to the Screen Actors Guild 2007 and 2008 Casting Data Reports.

A Care2 petition asking Warner Bros. to reconsider their casting decision has already accrued 7,878 signatures out of their desired 8,000. With tensions already simmering after Johnny Depp’s casting as Tonto in The Lone Ranger last year, social media exploded. Actress Felicia Day tweeted her displeasure.

The studio also considered Mexican-Kenyan actress Lupita Nyonog’o and French actress Adele Exarchopoulos for the role of Tiger Lily. So far, it appears a Native American actress was not seriously considered for the role.

Nonetheless, Variety reported that the film’s world is to be “multi-racial/international – and a very different character than previously imagined.” However, the current cast list does not seem promising. Mara will star beside Garret Hedlund as Hook, Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard and Levi Miller as Pan. Adeel Akhtar is reportedly slated to play Mr. Smee, the only sign of that “multi-racial” world evident so far.

Pan will be released in July 2015.

Image via Youtube

About the Author

Erin HallErin Hall is a writer from Northern Kentucky. She likes candymaking, needlecrafts, words and the music of Bob Dylan. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+.

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  • Steve Berger

    Get over it Injuns. So one has to be Indian to play an Indian. Give me a break.

  • thegreatdane18

    The left is as racist, more so, than anyone on the right. But it’s always and only against white people, so it’s acceptable.

  • thegreatdane18

    Non-whites and leftists don’t like white people playing characters of colour even those characters created BY WHITE PEOPLE, well fine by me. But can you please stop the incessant whining over the lack of non-whites in films where a non-white character is as much out of place as a Jew in Nazi Party?! Token blacks in films have only ever made me laugh. I simply cannot take a film seriously when some dope like Spielberg puts a black in a role in which blacks have nothing to do with. And all these calls for a black “James Bond” or the crap about Santa Claus not being white even though he is of European, NOT African tradition…..I could go on and on.