Rooney Mara looks to be headed to Neverland. The “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” lead is in negotiations to star as the tribal princess Tiger Lily in Warner Bros.’ upcoming Peter Pan origin story “Pan,” according to a Variety report.
Directed by Joe Wright (“Pride & “Prejudice,” “Anna Karenina”) from a script by Jason Fuchs, the film is also set to star Hugh Jackman and Garrett Hedlund, with an open casting being held to find a 10-to-12-year-old actor to play Pan, the report says.
“Pan,” which is scheduled for release July 17, 2015, is said to be a new take on J.M. Barrie’s classic tale, set during World War II and following an orphan boy who is kidnapped by pirates and brought to the magical realm of Neverland.
Though the report says: “The world being created is multi-racial/international,” the notion of casting Mara, a white actress, as a character traditionally depicted as Native American, has already drawn criticism. Callie Beusman of Jezebel, for example, sarcastically wrote: “Great to see Hollywood so thoughtfully responding to criticism that it woefully under- and misrepresents indigenous people!”
Flavorwire’s Tyler Coates argued that the more problematic issue is that in Barrie’s original work and in several adaptations over the years, “the character [Tiger Lily] is not a particularly sensitive or sophisticated representation of a Native American woman.” Coates added: “If ‘Pan’ does its job well as a reimagination of this classic story and its characters, it’ll treat Tiger Lily as a literary figure with more respect than previous films, theater productions, and books.”
Variety says “Pan’s” version of Tiger Lily is “a very different character than previously imagined,” and that Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave”) and Adele Exarchopoulos (“Blue Is the Warmest Color”) were considered for the part.
If “Pan” does indeed represent a new spin on the Peter Pan mythos, it would presumably help separate the film from Disney’s competing plans for “Peter and the Starcatcher.”
Does the world need two Peter Pan movies, or will one studio blink? Perhaps they’re both holding on to Barrie’s famous line: “Never say goodbye, because goodbye means going away, and going away means forgetting.”