Rooney Mara Says She 'Felt Really Bad' About 'Pan' Casting Criticism

The actress was chosen to play the role of Tiger Lily in the "Peter Pan" remake.

Rooney Mara came under fire last year when it was revealed the actress had netted the part of Tiger Lily in the "Peter Pan" remake, "Pan."

Many immediately accused the casting choice of promoting whitewashing in Hollywood, as Tiger Lily is a Native American character and Mara is white. Nearly 95,000 people petitioned Warner Bros. to change its casting decision and "stop casting white actors to play people of color."

Mara addressed the incident on the red carpet premiere of "Pan" Sunday night, telling People:

"It wasn't great, I felt really bad about it," said Mara of the casting criticism. "But I totally sympathize with why people were upset and feel really bad about it."

Though the actress says she sympathizes, Mara is now unfortunately linked to a long list of examples of Hollywood whitewashing. Earlier this year, Cameron Crowe's flick "Aloha" was in hot water after Emma Stone, who is white, was cast as Allison Ng, a character who was supposed to be a quarter Hawaiian and a quarter Chinese.

Hollywood also has a long history of casting white actors to play Native Americans. The latest example took place in 2013, when Johnny Depp was cast as Tonto in "The Lone Ranger." 

But even when casting directors do hire Native Americans for roles, it doesn't mean things always go well. About a dozen Native Americans walked off the set of Adam Sandler's Netflix movie, "The Ridiculous Six," in April 2015. The actors claimed the movie was "disrespectful" and reinforced negative stereotypes. 

"Right from the get-go, it didn't feel right. But we let it go," said Loren Anthony, a Navajo actor, to the Associated Press. "Once we found out more about the script, we felt it was totally disrespectful to elders and Native women."
Hollywood still has a long way to go when it comes to casting choices. But maybe next time when there's a role meant for a person of color, the right actors will get the part. 
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