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Is It OK for Rooney Mara To Play a Native American Character in 'Pan'?

by Matthew Hammett Knott
March 13, 2014 11:04 AM
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Rooney Mara / Tiger Lily

The internet exploded last night with the news that Rooney Mara was in talks to play Princess Tiger Lily in Joe Wright’s forthcoming Peter Pan origin story “Pan”. The uproar was immediate - Tiger Lily is a Native American character, while Mara is plainly white.

At first glance, this would seem to be another example of the Hollywood whitewashing that required "Prince of Persia"'s lead roles of Prince Dastan and Princess Tamina to be played by Jake Gyllenhall and Gemma Arterton. We all know why it happens, but it doesn’t make it any more edifying.

However, is this a similar scenario? Variety reports of Wright's film that “the world being created is multi-racial / international" and that Tiger Lily is "a very different character than previously imagined”, adding that actresses including Adele Exarchopoulos and Lupita Nyong’o were considered for the role.

While it bears mentioning that all starring roles announced thus far have gone to white actors, we don’t yet know what exactly Joe Wright has done with the role of Tiger Lily or how he envisages this “multi-racial” world as a whole.

What we can at least expect is that we are not going to see a repeat of the Tiger Lily of previous Peter Pan incarnations. Which frankly, is wonderful news. Tiger Lily is a hugely passive character, not least in the Disney cartoon version, where her one trait is being forced to keep silent for the entire film (a task she eventually breaks... in order to cry for help). Yes, it's a representation of a Native American woman, but a hideously stereotyped one.

But is that better than no representation at all? It remains to be seen. The casting of "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"'s Mara suggests that the film may be going for a character of the “kick-ass” variety, although that doesn't necessarily make it a positive representation of womanhood. Of course, what may have been ideal is if Joe Wright had used this opportunity to cast a Native American actress as Tiger Lily and then utterly flipped the character on its head, making her as active and fully-fleshed and interesting as she deserves to be. That is now clearly not going to happen. And was never exactly likely.

So in answer to the question posed at the top of this article, it seems Rooney Mara is not really going to be playing a Native American role at all. Of course, that very fact means that a culture perpetually rendered invisible in popular culture has been dealt that fate once again. But until we get to see the finished film or at least read a script, it remains to be seen what we are being offered in its place.

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  • Jay stark | May 5, 2014 1:32 PMReply

    It is horribly offensive to me the way the people are treated and portrayed in movies and history the very least native americans should be given roles they resemble ,and positive images would be a vast improvement for the most part.

  • VERNEE | April 16, 2014 4:35 AMReply

    NO. NO. NO! This is wrong on all fronts.

  • Isabel Sinton | March 21, 2014 2:41 PMReply

    I want all you young 'uns to google Picaninny .
    As in 'Tiger Lily is . . the daughter of Great Big Little Panther, chief of the Picaninny tribe.'
    And see what a REAL racial insult is. This has NOTHING to do with Native Americans.
    And learn to check facts once in a while.

  • sara | March 21, 2014 4:21 AMReply

    This is a massive gaffe. I remember watching Short Circuit recently and realising that the Indian (not Native American, btw) character Benny was in fact a blacked-up Fisher Stevens doing a terribly dodgy accent, something which we now know was grossly inappropriate. That movie was made in 1986. Have we seriously not moved beyond this shit yet?

  • Paul Holmes | March 16, 2014 2:26 PMReply

    Its ok for anybody to play anybody.. people that bring race into the mix are brain dead at best. People that think they can dictate what somebody wants to cast as a character, is also brain dead.

    Lets move on past these ridiculous ideas that PC is in control... it is not.

  • Peaches | March 27, 2014 1:49 PM

    obv. we have a white boy with white privilege.

  • Vivica DuBois | March 20, 2014 6:55 PM

    This comment is gross and embarrassing and I feel very bad for you.

  • Sean | March 16, 2014 4:47 AMReply

    I'm sick of this double standard crap. People say you're racist if you complain about minorities playing traditionally white roles, but if a white person plays a traditionally minority role all hell breaks loose. For all we know she's no longer Native American in this version. I mean she's princess of a race of people from a fictional universe. Would you prefer they make this the Disney way and have the chief say "How" and stuff? Why is it this doesn't make sense, but having an African American play the blood-related sister of a white woman in Fantastic Four make any more sense? Should they go with someone with less talent just because they LOOK the part? Apparently she beat out all the others that auditioned. To dump her simply because of her race would be racist, as well. You can't win. Peter Pan's traditionally played by a woman on stage. Get over it.

  • Sam | March 27, 2014 2:01 PM

    There is no such thing as reverse racism and there is no double standard here.

    White people are in outrage (ALWAYS) when a white character is played by a poc.
    But, when a character of color is played by a white person, white people feel the need to say it's 'racist' when poc want actual representation in media.

    And to answer your question, or at least one of them, YES they should always always always look the part.

  • Phila | March 20, 2014 11:47 PM

    Yeah! Why do people think Robin Hood is so nice for stealing from the rich to give to the poor but then get all uptight when Prince John steals from the poor? Double Standard!

    White people are rich in representation (and and actual money), minorities are not.

  • Cass | March 18, 2014 2:29 PM

    The thing is, white people dominate the movie industry of speaking roles in the 100 greatest grossing films talking roles were portrayed by over 75% as white people. We need more poc in films so that the generations growing up can see themselves in these roles as well. I'm latina and my formative years were in the 90s. I saw nothing of myself in any of the TV shows or movies offered to me. It was so alienating watching time and time again a white hero save the day.

    Representation matters. Having an African American play the Human Torch is wonderful! We don't need another movie with the four main leads all white. You could probably name a ten movies off the top of your head where all the main characters are white. Yes, it is a fictional land and they could make the tribe something where the race isn't Natives but if it doesn't move the plot in some way, then why do it? Simple so they can hire a white actress? Hiring a poc makes the movie more relatable for the audience so that move would make sense.

    Yes, this is racist. In every way imaginable since in those other actress they 'supposedly' auditioned, non of them were Native Americans.

  • Sean | March 16, 2014 4:48 AM

    *blood-related brother

  • Marcella Dion | March 15, 2014 2:43 PMReply

    Please find an American Native actress to play this part, it could only be a positive all the way around, the young Native American girls growing up with their self esteem, I am 61 years old and as a young Native American girl, movies were always played by non Native American. we are in the 21st Century and please show some respect, there are many young beautiful Native actresses to choose from.

  • Cass | March 18, 2014 2:31 PM

    You are a perfect example on how representation matters. I pray the director and Disney will see how wrong this move is and change their minds.

  • Shawnee D. Rydean | March 15, 2014 4:06 AMReply

    There are a plethora of great (actual) Nativctresses. Will send you a list... Try MarissaQuinn from the Twilight series or Qorianka Kilcher (the star of the New World)..etc...

  • Shawnee D. Rydean | March 15, 2014 4:00 AMReply

    No!!... Tiger Lily is Indian!.. This girl looks Irish.. Peter pan is my favorite by far!...I Will not watch this one if she is cast.. It Is your choice to get the casting Right this time or not

  • neshobe cunningham | March 14, 2014 9:54 PMReply

    if you have a native act let it be done by a native. 1+% of this continent is native

  • Anonymous | March 15, 2014 9:06 PM

    Oops, replied to the wrong person... damn this site. The reply was meant for 'SHAWNEE D. RYDEAN'.

  • Anonymous | March 15, 2014 9:05 PM

    Hey, s$!t for brains, she looks Irish because she is Irish, ethnically. And of course she can play this character (it's a CARTOON character for f#@k's sake!!!), just like Quvenzhané Wallis can play Annie (who, again, is a totally made up character open to interpretation!).

  • Jorell Dye | March 14, 2014 7:33 PMReply

    I'm white, but I'm going to paint my face brown and forget English if they keep doing this. I am being robbed of brown people. I need them in my life.

  • McE | March 14, 2014 7:06 PMReply

    "the world being created is multi-racial / international" yet "all starring roles announced thus far have gone to white actors", really? Joe Wright’s math is delusional at best

  • native | March 14, 2014 4:33 PMReply

    Fine a Native American Indian!!!!!!

  • native | March 14, 2014 4:34 PM

    Find. Find. Look. Search. Choose a Native American Indian!!

  • Char | March 14, 2014 1:58 PMReply

    Oh we all know there's no respected Native American who can speak Native American better than a Caucasian. Good lord. 👀.
    Ridiculous right!

  • Claudia Alick | March 14, 2014 1:18 PMReply

    I just wrote a poem about this topic inspired by the Oscars. I've now had to add aline about cartoons because this is uncool and disingenuous. The cast is primarily white. Unless they have a higher percentage of POC roles then making Miss Mara do redface (or even worse rewriting the role so it's somehow white) is disgusting. Poem is here but I had to break it up so the spam filter doesn't block the comment. http://claudiaalick. blogspot. com/2014/03/you-are-not-green-screen.html

  • Danielle Ducheneaux | March 14, 2014 11:51 AMReply

    I wouldn't blame Rooney Mara for the selection, however I would think that the director should know better. We don't have white people play African Americans or vice versa. I am a Native American woman and quite frankly I wouldn't mind taking her place. It bothers me that there is no selection process as far as Native American women being considered. I'll play the role...give me the part. It's time we give Native American people a fair chance at being stars just like the current stars have been given.

  • Mari P | March 21, 2014 12:52 AM

    I 100000% blame Rooney Mara. There is no way that she doesnt know Tiger Lily was written as Native American, so unless she has no money left and will starve if she doesnt get this job, there is absolutely no justifiable reason for her to accept this role, much less audition for it. I dont care if they came to her house and crawled on their knees and begged her to take the role, if she was a descent person she should have still said no, because there is no way that she could be that ignorant about whitewashing and how damaging it is. I have zero respect for her and any other white actor /actress who accepts roles to play characters that are POC.

  • charley | March 14, 2014 11:27 AMReply

    PLEASE stop this bullshit. This is an imaginary character invented by an Englishman. Tiger Lily is no more an Native American than--well, than Rooney Mara. Rent a grip people, it will come in handy in the real world.

  • Elizabeth | March 14, 2014 5:54 PM

    Regardless if she was invented by an Englishman she was based on a group of real people. It's people like you who think this is bullshit that Natives are so under represented.

  • SJH | March 14, 2014 6:54 AMReply

    No it's not alright for her to play the role.
    But also, Tiger Lily is NOT a wholly passive character and I wish people would stop citing the Disney movie like it's the Gospel source on the story. In the book Tiger Lily is captured climbing aboard the Jolly Roger with a knife, Peter rescues her, but she returns to save him in turn after he's wounded and stranded on the rocks as the tide is coming in. She's not the biggest character in the story, but she is an extremely cool one.
    The 2003 live action adaptation went much more in that vein with the character, and also cast an actual American Indian in the role (who, by the way, spoke Haida in the film). She was wonderful.
    I refuse to believe that the creative team conducted an exhaustive world-wide search to fill this role and the best they came up with was Rooney Mara. It's insulting, and I say that as a white girl who's main interest in all this is a passionate love for the source material.

  • ugh | March 14, 2014 3:57 AMReply

    What made me mad about this ... was the fact that Tigerlily was the only POC in Peter Pan who has a "big" role. She's a Chief's daughter, ffs! There’s literally just one POC (of any importance) in the entire Peter Pan franchise (book or otherwise) and they’ve now removed her. How is that not about race? How is that not racist?

  • dereck | March 14, 2014 2:09 AMReply

    Have any of you whites or other non-whites on this site EVER bothered to LISTEN to the accent of a Native Indian speaker? We are not europeans!! The controversy here isn't just over the character; you have no intelligence whatsoever if that's all you see. Mara is not going to pull this off in the Native community because WE know she can't. Again, LISTEN to the accent of a Native Indian speaker! The voice is important; it is outright racist to even suggest she could come close to it! Irregardless of what rights you claim as film makers and artistic license as creators of this film, you do NOT have the right to commit fraud and use my people as some sort of joke by pretending we 'sound' like YOU! We don't! If you can't do the character with some accuracy, then don't use it at all.

  • kathleen smth | March 14, 2014 1:55 AMReply

    I have to say first that film making is an art and all creators have the absolute right to do as they will. But the controversy is not just that they are whitewasing a role, its that suddenly articles like this are trying to smooth out the controversy and saying "hey hollywood does this all the time, its ok". The fact is, aside from the progression of finally seeing diverse actors in leading roles in mainstream tv and film- one of the rarest characters/roles is the native american female. Aside from the book being a fantasy, why doesn't it make sense to play on the fantasy of a 12 year old boy in the early 1900s seeing an indiginous person? I don't see why this role couldn't stay native american female, and if it is and they are brown facing a white person to play it- are you serious? Some of the downplay is that originally the role is a misrepresentation...uh duh hollywood, you have so many screenwriters you can't take out the misrepresentations and keep the role a native american female? Its just a joke to me that in 2014 not only is shit like this still happening, but there are people that are dismissive of the fact that this is an opportunity to keep diversity in film and television moving forward by sayin "does it really matter?" Who cares that we don't know what is in the script yet, we know one simple fact, this is a native american female role, and it went to a white chick. Even if the role is rewritten to be white, the fact that its rewritten is dismissive and quite frankly disrespectul. That character was written int he original story for a reason. Sorry to see that native americans don't deserve representation.

  • desean jackson | March 13, 2014 11:49 PMReply

    No it doesn't matter, its a voice. Why does a race have to tie to a voice? A person should be selected for a voice actress/actor role based on their adeptness not if its racially accurate. What the hell is wrong with you people?

    Why on earth would it matter, what the hell. There is so much hate for white people in this comment section lmao.

  • me | March 13, 2014 11:42 PMReply

    i think point is simply this.... fiction or non-fiction... Hollywood is going to do what causes the most ruckus on the web. when Michael B. Jordan was casted to play johnny storm, people went off saying that a N***** shouldn't be playing a historically white (fictional) character. now that the buzz is out... everyone is going to go see how he does, whether they said they were going to boycott or not. this same sort of thing is happening over and over again... more to minority characters than others IMO... and its just to get people talking about it... its about dollars... its the world we live in... GTF over it.... go see the movie, or don't... you have a choice... but don't get on the internet bitching and whining... because its not going to change a thing... the next thing that will happen is that there will be a black batman, and Asian robin. then people are going to raise all kinds of hell, and the movie will make BILLIONS. Hollywood 1 , people whining online 0...

  • Echo | March 13, 2014 11:27 PMReply

    NO! Tiger Lily is Indian. and the character in the move should be Indian.

    next thing you know they'll be doing a "re-do" of Roots using white actors....

  • Sally Strange | March 13, 2014 11:12 PMReply

    Stop framing this as a question. No, it is not okay. Because yes, it does matter. Native American actors deserve better. I want to see them on the screen and so do many others!

  • Alice | March 17, 2014 11:45 AM

    It's too fun not to come back to this, Brad.

    I'm actually quite suspicious of the claim that you can "reference" (did you mean "imply"?) a concept without, well, using the word that signifies that concept. But I'll grant you that's a debate that has linguistic philosopher's split. Even on a looser understanding of conceptual invocation, though, nothing I said came near to the concept of "enlightenment" (disputed as that term is) and its connotations of rationalism over belief, truth over mysticism. I don't disagree with people on this issue because I think I have a unique claim to truth, or because I think any such thing is attainable.

    What really matters here, though, is your insistence that this is a non-issue. Well, ok, fine, but why do you keep coming back here? It's important to some people because for them it is bound up with a historical problem: the misrepresentation, or complete lack of representation, of Native American people on screen. It's absolutely fine for you to give precisely no f*cks about this if you don't want to, but why hector those who do?

    It's kind of funny, too, that you assume my only concerns are American minorities. I'm British, and I've raised attention on this very blog to minority issues worldwide. As for Wright as a "white devil" I have literally zero idea what - in anything either I or the writer of this article wrote - comes anywhere near that level of crude (we might say facile?) analysis.

  • Brad | March 15, 2014 9:01 PM

    No, you didn't write the term "enlightenment" ... but you referenced the concept in what you wrote. People can do that, you know? Discern the meaning of words and reference other terms that correlate with such words. You say that people need to be convinced ... because they disagree with you on the casting of a Peter Pan film? Good Lord. If you really care about this debate (and not just getting on a soapbox), why no mention of Adeel Akhtar as Smee? Oh, that's right. You only give a shit about questions of racial diversity as it relates American minorities, not minorities from England or other nations, and casting Wright as a white devil accordingly. Don't let me stop you from making facile binary oppositions.

  • Alice | March 15, 2014 3:57 AM

    What are you talking about?! No one but you made this about "enlightenment". Why is it obnoxious to hope people will talk about things? In this particular instance I do have a strong opinion, and I was defending the idea that the best way to convince people isn't shutting down debate but opening it up. Sorry if this blog has aspirations you're uncomfortable with, maybe it's not for you?

  • Brad | March 14, 2014 11:43 PM

    Because those with a different perspective need to be taught and enlightened ... by this film blog? That's truly obnoxious, even by the standards of film blogging.

  • Alice Lytton | March 14, 2014 8:25 AM

    Sally, we framed it as a question to let as many voices be heard as possible. Personally I agree with you, but it's important sometimes not to speak for people but to give them a forum to speak for themselves. The best way of battling prejudice isn't silencing questions, it's providing the kinds of articulate, incisive arguments many people have in the comments here.

  • Alice Lytton | March 14, 2014 8:25 AM

    Sally, we framed it as a question to let as many voices be heard as possible. Personally I agree with you, but it's important sometimes not to speak for people but to give them a forum to speak for themselves. The best way of battling prejudice isn't silencing questions, it's providing the kinds of articulate, incisive arguments many people have in the comments here.

  • Alice Lytton | March 14, 2014 8:24 AM

    Sally, we framed it as a question to let as many voices be heard as possible. Personally I agree with you, but it's important sometimes not to speak for people but to give them a forum to speak for themselves. The best way of battling prejudice isn't silencing questions, it's providing the kinds of articulate, incisive arguments many people have in the comments here.

  • Dipshit | March 13, 2014 6:43 PMReply

    I have two words for you: Tropic Thunder. It's Hollywood, give it a rest...!

  • Mikey | March 13, 2014 6:27 PMReply

    It's not surprising that they decide to whitewash this character. Hollywood has a long history of this. It's sad that they cannot even find a Natice American actor to portray this role.

  • Jack | March 13, 2014 5:05 PMReply

    It's a MOVIE. You all know she will bring everything she's got. It's called acting. Quit overreacting.

  • Mino Warrior | March 13, 2014 4:08 PMReply

    Most whites will not see a film staring a person of color of with a cast of people of color. They are arrogant & narcissistic. Like Narcissus himself, they only want to see what looks like themselves reflected back at them. Look at the anger around the casting a black actress as Anne, a black actor as Johnny Storm, Idrus Elba ae Heimdal, or finally realizing that Rue from the Hunger Games was black. The whitewashed films Avatar the Last Airbender, The Lone Ranger and Ender's Game were flops but an all white version of Akira was in production for months. Whites played people of color in films and TV regularly until the 1970, isn't it time it was ended completely? Way too many whites cannot imagine people of color as full, complex human beings. It is not acting it is racism.

  • Sally Strange | March 13, 2014 11:13 PM

    Whether this is true that most whites are narcissistic or not, research shows that TV shows and films with a diverse cast do better than totally whitewashed ones.

  • Hasdi Bravo | March 13, 2014 7:16 PM

    The backlash with The Last Airbender is because the fans wanted an "all-Asian" cast, which is as bad as "all-white" cast as far as diversified casting goes. The movie has more non-whites than whites in the leads and major roles, so the controversy actually undetermined the contribution of the non-white actors. Go ahead and check. Peter Pan on the other hand would have an all-white cast so it would fit the popular definition of "whitewashing".

  • self-entitlement chief | March 13, 2014 3:29 PMReply

    "blackface"? why throw others under the bus? It's your own problems in your own head.

  • schon | March 13, 2014 3:23 PMReply

    Ugh. Red face is the new blackface. As a Native American, I will boycott this film if this happens. Why doesn't Hollywood learn or is it that we don't matter? Didn't they learn their lesson with Tonto?

  • Mino Warrioe | March 13, 2014 3:47 PM

    Red face is not new. There were Native American and Asian characters played by whites in make up minstrel shows and vaudeville. Many whites still cannot see the narcissism and ignorance around over a hundred years of whites feeling they can play ethnic roles better that those of that ethnic group.

  • Alexis | March 13, 2014 3:03 PMReply

    I was ok with Adrien Brody being polish in The Pianist and Russell Crowe playing a roman in Gladiator, it's basicly the same thing and it's called acting.

  • Please don't have children | March 13, 2014 6:17 PM

    And what you are talking about is called "nationality" and moreover, it might help if you enroll in an ethnic studies class ASAP

  • M | March 13, 2014 1:06 PMReply

    Was it okay for Johnny D. to play an American Indian in Lone Ranger? She is talented and gorgeous and director has a vision of his film with her in it - I don't see a problem with it. I do however see a problem with paying to see movies produced and directed by child abusers. We all draw the line somewhere.

  • lol | March 15, 2014 8:31 PM

    lol ever notice how everytime someone claims to be part native they are always cherokee???? as for the actress casted i'm native i think they should have casted ashley callingbull but i wont be seeing this trash anyways lol

  • Eric | March 13, 2014 2:05 PM

    V - Johnny has stated before he is unsure of his heritage but is probably Cherokee (Which American isn't part Cherokee these days) or something. But he is no where near half.

  • Bee | March 13, 2014 1:48 PM

    Johnny Depp has exactly 0% proven Native American ancestry.

  • V | March 13, 2014 1:15 PM

    I'm not sure, but I thought Johnny Depp was half Native American?

  • Lexie | March 13, 2014 12:56 PMReply

    I don't think Hollywood is "white-washing" anything necessarily. I don't hate Rooney Mara for taking this role, nor do I hate Johnny Depp for playing Tonto or Jake Gyllenhal for the Prince of Persia. It's not like they butchered the characters or anything, but it would be nice to see some true authenticity in these films that concur with the ethnicity and race of the characters being portrayed.

  • strike | March 15, 2014 8:33 PM

    lol prince of persia was one horrible movie and johnny depps tonto was a native american jack sparrow terrible lol

  • Neme | March 13, 2014 12:29 PMReply

    There are many Native American actresses that they could find if they REALLY wanted to. But of course not, God forbid any Hollywood movie have an actor darker than "Crayola Peach" play a lead or important role! Oh, sorry! There was a Native American actress in August: Osage County. Misty Upham, she played the maid and had seven lines! Right! The whitewashing oh Hollywood is a travesty and it's disgusting! To have Rooney Mara play Tiger Lilly would be a confirmation of the institutional racism in Hollywood. It would be a stupid choice to cast her.

  • Alice L | March 13, 2014 12:28 PMReply

    Funny how no one ever responds (and rightly so) "it's called acting" about blackface. Please let's be a bit more nuanced about this! Clearly there are deep historic issues for worrying about this casting, including but not limited to the systematic oppression of Native Americans, the acknowledged practice of white-washing in Hollywood and the general paucity of Native American actors on our screens.

  • Ann | April 7, 2014 8:18 PM

    Jennifer Connelly's mother is Jewish and Logan Lerman is 100% Jewish. Surely they can play Old Testament characters.

  • Alice L | March 13, 2014 1:25 PM

    Hold your horses there, Tim (a polite way of saying read people's comments with more care before dismissing them as "ridiculous"). I did not compare the *casting* to blackface. I used blackface to show how silly it is to respond to this issue of minority representation with a glib "it's just acting". I'm afraid, too, that plenty of women of colour would disagree with your claim this move has nothing to do with racism. As you seem to acknowledge, that kind of prejudice has a long history in Hollywood. The very fact that you so confidently claim there are no alternative actresses for this part might be true, I don't know, but it is also a function of this prejudice in whose stories we tell and how we tell them.

  • Tim F. | March 13, 2014 12:37 PM

    Comparing this casting to blackface is ridiculous. Blackface is tied to centuries of racial mockery and hatred. Rooney Mara has been cast because she's pretty and people know who she is (I can't think of any high dollar Native American box office stars, can you?). If you want to say the casting is based on dollars then go ahead, but to charge racism is being lazy.

  • V | March 13, 2014 12:36 PM

    People don't even know what actual blackface is anymore. It's not makeup to look like a normal black person. It's a tar/shoe polish look with clownish type face a la Al Jolson in The Jazz Singer. But Hollywood is truly over stepping with lots of inaccurate casting. In the Noah movie with Russell Crowe, Ham, father of the black race will be played by white actors. Then, in the Moses Exodus movie Joel a Edgerton is Pharaoh Ramses, his mother Queen Tuya will be Sigourney Weaver. Now, this! It is plain wrong. I have no interest in any of these dumb movies.

  • V | March 13, 2014 12:26 PMReply

    They couldn't find a Native American woman to play the part?!? But this sort of thing is happening more and more lately. Just find an actor or actress that matches the character. They keep this up and people won't even remember what a true Native American looks's not Rooney Mara. Just don't go see the movie. I now have no interest. They could've found a Native American actress.

  • Tim F. | March 13, 2014 12:48 PM

    You sound like the silly white people who are upset that The Human Torch (a white comic book character) is being portrayed by Michael B. Jordan.

  • Tim F. | March 13, 2014 12:25 PMReply

    Is it wrong for Lithgow and Molina to play homosexuals in LOVE IS STRANGE?

  • Erica | March 13, 2014 12:24 PMReply

    Totally sick of this double standard racial/culture thing.

    Peter Pan is a FAKE BOY, created by a Scottish writer, historically played by WOMEN.....and yet, this matters? Hattie McDaniel was the first black woman to ever win an Oscar, and yet many people condemn her for winning it depicting a cliché part of a horrible past. Raven-Symoné played Belle (French & White) on Broadway even though she's not white, and frankly as a signer, has no real business being on Broadway. Yul Brynner was born in the states of Russian parents and played the King of Siam.

    It's okay when Non-White people play White roles (even when they don't even have the talent to merit the job, using only their celebrity to land the gig) but it's not okay for White people to play cliché made up roles of other ethnicities.

    What about gay actors playing straight characters, or actors playing disabled characters? Are they supposed to question the actors sexual orientation or mental or physical disability.

    Especially on shows like Law & Order where the goal is often to educate and bring awareness hate crimes, and they frequently need people to play those roles to achieve that!

    Screw that, that's racism. Thanks.

  • JackSkllington | March 13, 2014 3:05 PM

    Erica, you are being extremely ignorant to other cultures. There is millions of stories about white heroes and it is about time that Hollywood pays respect to characters that are NOT white. There is little to no representation of native americans in holliwood, and when they are represented it is lackluster. Have you even noticed that in "Native American" movies like Last of the Mohicans or Dances with Wolves there is always a strong WHITE lead and the natives are used to "fill" the scene or to teach the white man how to become one of them and essentially glorifies the non-native person. Did we mention The Missing? Tommy Lee Jones and Cate Blanchet? Even look at Twillight, Taylor Launter at least looks like a native, but they could've casted a native as well. I mean even you should be able to see the trend here. Also don't be ignorant, there are many Native Americans in Canada as well, many of them capable actresses themsleves like Mohawk actress Kaniehtiio Horn or native actress Rachelle White Wind Arbez, Devery Jacobs also a Mohawk actress. They could've also easily casted Julia Jones who has portrayed younger roles in the past and is at least half native. It is an insult to not even think of honoring the original characters heritage as a Native American.

  • Nguveren | March 13, 2014 2:01 PM

    This is about representation and diversity. It would be like putting Idris Elba in white make up and having him portray oh say, Alexander Graham Bell. Utterly nonsensical.

    It is important to be aware of the relative lack of diversity in the media. As an object lesson try this drinking game with any TV show or movie. Watch it once. Every time there is a white character on screen take a shot. Watch it again, only this time take a shot whenever there is a person of color on screen. I think you would quickly be able to see that there is a massive bias here.

    From there try and take a step in empathy and imagine yourself in a person of colors shoes, watch the kind of roles they are given, take notice of advertising and a media that is largely omitting you from the larger picture. It gets rather frustrating extremely fast.

    So, when something like this happens, when there is a blatant opportunity to increase diversity it seems like a slap in the face not to.

  • Hilary | March 13, 2014 1:10 PM

    Thank you for typing that out so I don't have to, Erica. :)

  • Erica | March 13, 2014 12:51 PM

    Holy Crap!

    So you don't care if an actual Native American gets the role as long as it's just not someone who is white!? Basically you don't care if NA people got a shot at this role, you only care that the final decision was a white girl....and then you're going to talk about accuracy!? LOL

    Damn dude. Talk about true colors, yours are showing.

  • Erica | March 13, 2014 12:46 PM

    Here's the list per the The Bureau of Indian Affairs.
    Please let me know who is qualified, interested, applied and got rejected.

    It's not a long list, mkay!

  • V | March 13, 2014 12:40 PM

    Other race roles have been portrayed by whites for years. In 2014, it's time for some accuracy. There are other actors/people of color who can play those parts and make it authentic. But oh well, give it a few years, Mandela will be played by a white actor as will Harriet Tubman and the Obamas! But it's just acting, right?!?

  • Tim F. | March 13, 2014 12:22 PMReply


  • Erica | March 13, 2014 12:45 PM

    Here's the list per the The Bureau of Indian Affairs.
    Please let me know who is qualified, interested, applied and got rejected.

    It's not a long list.

  • V | March 13, 2014 12:31 PM


  • Sara | March 13, 2014 12:20 PMReply

    It's called acting.

  • hdbfly | March 13, 2014 11:13 AMReply

    Should Quvenzhané Wallis play Annie?

  • V | March 13, 2014 12:29 PM

    All the actresses that play Andromeda (the Ethiopian princess in Greek mythology, wife of Perseus) is always cast as a white woman. She's Hercules great-grandmother. No one ever thinks of Hercules with Ethiopian in him, because they never cast the part correctly in the movies. They love keeping people ignorant.

  • James | March 13, 2014 11:19 AM


  • frederique | March 13, 2014 10:58 AMReply


  • CuseGirl | March 13, 2014 10:57 AMReply

    No, even with Joe Wright's re-imagining of Neverland, pretending that Tiger Lily was never based on Native stereotypes is still whitewashing. Erasure of Tiger Lily's culture doesn't fix the problem created by Barrie (Peter Pan and Tiger Lily's creator). All it does is erase the existence of the culture, which is a racist practice in Hollywood. Rooney Mara and any other actress who wasn't native should never have been offered this role.

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