Hollywood tends to be tone-deaf when it comes to racial issues, so what happens when Hollywood bigwigs’ attempts seem too racially sensitive? Their actions are petitioned and protested of course.
When Warner Bros. decided to make a live-action Peter Pan, they didn’t want the same racial insensitivities found in J.M. Barrie’s play which carried over into Disney’s 1953 film and featured the song “What Made the Red Man Red?” The filmmakers decided that Tiger Lily would not be Native American, but a character with no clear ethnicity.
The casting of Rooney Mara, a white actress, to play Tiger Lily has led to an outcry with 90,000 people signing a Care2 petition. That’s right people are mad that Warner Bros tried to offer a color-blind modern Peter Pan.
Those in the film industry have fired back with a ‘race doesn’t matter’ type of attitude and said they are looking beyond race and hiring the best person for the job. “There’s a misconception about the ethnicity of the original character and we felt no obligation to perpetuate that misconception,” says an insider on the project. “We looked at Native American actresses. We looked at African-American actresses. We looked at African actresses. We looked at Middle Eastern actresses. White actresses. After a very exhaustive casting process, we ultimately went with the best actress for the part.”
On his blog, Crowe issued an apology June 2 to “all who felt this was an odd or misguided casting choice,” explaining he based the character on a woman he had met who did not look like her background.
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