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

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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