Rooney Mara Hated Sparking Whitewashing Debate as Tiger Lily in ‘Pan’

Rooney Mara Pan Tiger Lily
Moviestore/REX Shutterstock

Rooney Mara has opened up about the whitewashing debate that ignited when she was cast as Tiger Lily in 2015 film “Pan,” leading to thousands protesting the fact that a white actress was cast in the famous part.

In an interview with the Telegraph, Mara said she hated being at the center of the controversy and being on “that side” of the conversation.

“[It was a] tricky thing to deal with,” Mara said. “There were two different periods; right after I was initially cast, and the reaction to that, and then the reaction again when the film came out.

“I really hate, hate, hate that I am on that side of the whitewashing conversation,” she went on. “I really do. I don’t ever want to be on that side of it again. I can understand why people were upset and frustrated.”

Although she said she enjoyed her time working on the movie and that the people involved in it had good intentions, Mara thinks there should have been more of an attempt at a diverse cast.

“Do I think all of the four main people in the film should have been white with blonde hair and blue eyes? No,” she said. “I think there should have been some diversity somewhere.”

Whitewashing has been a popular topic as of late, especially with the Oscar’s all-white acting nominees in 2016. On Monday, John Oliver took Hollywood’s whitewashing practices to task, and a study found Hollywood is a “straight, white, boy’s club.”

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  1. Allie says:

    Of course, Telegraph uk would publish this just the day before the Oscar voting closes also noting vikander in the wrong category, so people will favor their Brit Kate winslet. I just hope they give the Oscar to an American. Leigh or Rooney.

  2. allie says:

    Wow, what about Christian bale in exodus. Why are women only targeted in Hollywood.

  3. dwb says:

    What’s really disgusting is how some of these people refuse to see movies starring POC. I mean really, how is that frakkin OK????? It’s your money and you can choose to spend it anyway you want but don’t sit here and say these actors who star in certain remakes originally done by white actors can’t act, that’s just your disgusting prejudice and racist attitudes talking.

  4. Ima Right says:

    what BS! she’s enjoying the money she was paid isn’t she? give it to charity! hippocrite like all these
    left wing liberal hollyweirdos. and maybe she just doesn’t have any talent except a pretty face which
    seems to be the norm in hollyweird now. no more characters actors left anymore. no more good actors
    except the older ones. who in hollyweird under 35 can actually act now? the writing and directing and
    the remakes are horrible! everything over produced by CGI and blood gore and sex and racist liberal
    anti American garbage! Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi both played oriental characters and were great
    at it because they could ACT! but today you can have an all black movie and nobody says a word. BS!

    • a says:

      Agree fully. Assume Ms. Mara has already returned all the tainted money she received, or will be returning it soon.
      What absolute hypocricy – like most in “entertainment,” we’ll take the money then change our story to fit the current direction of the wind, and/or to get our name back in the “news.”
      Please just shut up….read the script and do your job, or don’t. We really don’t buy this sanctimonious crud.

  5. Brad says:

    tempest in a teapot

  6. Rose says:

    Her feelings are hurt. Boohoo. Shouldn’t have accepted the role in the first place then. Tiger lily is written as a native american, it’s not a valid artistic choice to whitewash the role.

  7. maniacprovost says:

    I think it’s a valid artistic choice, since Pan is basically about the childhood fantasies of British children. The more anachronism the better. Unfortunately the movie is produced in a social context.

    • T'omm J'Onzz says:

      i considered that aspect of it as well, but they’re fantasizing about Indigenous Americans and would be pretty conscious if not hyper-conscious of their skin tones, even in the 19th century. i mean, children fantasize about people, make up imaginary friends, of completely unnatural hues, like green, blue, purple, …

  8. hasdibravo says:

    I don’t mind her playing Tiger Lily. What bothers is why does the other 3 main characters (Peter Pan, Blackbeard and Hook) has to be played whites? Equal opportunity for all characters!

  9. Mia says:

    Instead of shifting the blame how about she just admit she messed up when she accepted the part?.She is part of the problem.

    • Ima Right says:

      hippocrites! same as putting x no talent rapper as the character James West in Wild Wild West! a total
      bomb and disgrace one of the worst movies ever made! if they had used the original character type
      the movie would have been a hit and a franchise money maker for the studio! same as with the remake
      or Omega Man aka Last Man on Earth who was played but WHITE actors Heston and Vincent Price!
      so again they put this x no talent rapper in the character! BOMB! again Hollyweird strikes out again.

    • Anonymous says:

      If she hated being part of the controversy, imagine how those who aren’t even able to fall back on collecting a paycheck from the situation feel.

  10. I says:

    There’s a huge double standard within this entire argument.

  11. Conspiracyin559 says:

    Who gives a shit about a fictional character
    If the human torch can be black, tiger lily can be transparent…works both ways folks

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