With Rooney Mara cast as Tiger Lily in the 2015 adaptation of 'Pan', Hollywood either needs an intervention or just really, honestly, truly does not care what we think. Or at least, that is the only logical explanation. Surely in a world where race and gender politics are boiling over into every facet of the Internet, no one could be blithely making these casting choices in ignorance.
In the last few years alone we've had such high-profile slaps in the face as Johnny Depp as Tonto, pretty much the entire cast of M. Night Shyamalan's film adaptation of Nickelodeon's 'Avatar' (except the villains because let's just go all on in the racist undertones), and now Rooney Mara as the Neverland princess, according to sources close the production of Warner Bros. 'Pan.'
Of course, it could just be a rumor right? There is still hope! Oh, it's on her IMDB. Dammit.
Hollywood executives, WHAT. ARE. YOU. DOING? There are already approximately eleventy-billion roles that are assigned to white actors and actresses. Why do you insist on taking the seven remaining for anyone a shade darker than Pillsbury Dough Boy? I wasn't going to take the time to explain why this is not okay, but apparently it still needs to be done. Feel free to skip over this part if you live in the 21st century and not whatever pocket universe of the 1930s Hollywood decision makers seem to inhabit.
To paraphrase this wonderful visual aid about representation in media, taking roles away from POC (People of Color) and reassigning them to white actors is selfish. Imagine there is a bowl of chocolate covered raisins. In one bowl, there are so many candies that even if you took out two or two dozen literally no one would be able to tell. In the other bowl, there are maybe fifteen pieces of candy. If you have the overflowing bowl and still take candy out of the nearly empty bowl THAT MAKES YOU A SELFISH ASSHOLE. And saying, 'Oh well my great-great grandmother on my father's side was part of the group that doesn't have as much candy, so I totally understand their struggle' makes you an asshole who is also tone deaf.
As an experiment, I googled the number of American Indian actresses that could have been cast to play Tiger Lily instead. Even after including First Nation actresses the list is woefully small, at around thirty names. But a small pool to choose from is more indicative of the lack of diversity in the movie machine, not that native peoples simply aren't choosing to go into acting.
So instead of casting from within the American Indian or First Nations community, Warner Bros. decided to cast the lovely, pale Rooney Mara in the role of Tiger Lily. Now obviously they won't put her in red face or give her the vaguely racist costume and personality choices of an animated movie filmed in 1953. Because no one would be that insensitive right? Oh what's that? Pan has been billed as the savior of the natives? Well then…I guess all bets are off.