It was announced earlier this week that Academy Award nominee Rooney Mara has been cast as Tiger Lily in the next adaptation of Peter Pan titled simply, Pan. Directed by Joe Wright, the cast is shaping up with the likes of Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard and Garrett Hedlund as Hook. However, the film is already stirring up controversy casting Mara in the role that could have been provided to one of our non-working Native American actors out there, still looking for roles that are “right for them.” Providing another example of roles in Hollywood that could easily seek someone of the same race and/or culture to play a character but they go with the familiar Caucasian actress with a big name.
Over the past few weeks, staff writer Cristina Lule has taken a look at Latinas and most recently Black women in Hollywood being denied or not given the opportunity to play roles that could have their race switched with no storyline changes or overall mood of the film. I also dove into the same argument before the Oscar nominations. We’ve seen this too many times with Jennifer Connelly winning the Academy Award for A Beautiful Mind playing a woman from El Salvador.
Yet again, here we are. If you couldn’t find a Native American actress, which I’m sure there are plenty to choose from, what happened to the Latina actresses, many of which have Native American roots, being tapped? It’s just another frustrating thing to see for minorities in the cinematic world. With 12 Years a Slave winning Best Picture, many get excited and see “progress,” but it doesn’t matter if Hollywood doesn’t “progress” too. I love the movies but I want to see more dynamic and creative casting choices. I think Mara is a very talented actress but seeing her with dark makeup or worse yet, just looking like her pale skin-self is not something I’m looking forward to. What’s sad is that I can even name too many Native American actresses because of how rare they are. When I think of Native American actors, the first names that come to my mind are Wes Studi and Graham Greene, two staples in the 90’s when Hollywood went down the route of Dances with Wolves and Geronimo. I can’t think of any women without having to venture off into iMDB.
What about Melonie Diaz for the role? Hell, you can go down a route where you cast Keisha Castle-Hughes and that would have a better reaction. I’m sure there are many lovers of The New World that would like to see Q’orianka Kilcher working again. This is just the tip of the iceberg. We’re about to get the adaptation of Noah with the wholesome looking white family that includes Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, and Jennifer Connelly and then later this year, the story of Moses with Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, and Aaron Paul in Ridley Scott’s Exodus. Tanning beds are going to be in high demand this year.
Your move Hollywood. Let’s try to rectify this.
Discuss in the comments.