Rooney Mara Regrets Native American Role In ‘Pan’: “I Hate” Contributing To Hollywood Whitewashing

Truth rating: 10
Mara Rooney Whitewashing pan

By Andrew Shuster

Mara Rooney Whitewashing pan

(Warner Bros.)

Rooney Mara reveals in a new interview her regret over playing the Native American character Tiger Lily in last year’s Pan, and being responsible for contributing to Hollywood whitewashing. The actress admits, “I really hate” being “on that side of the conversation.”

The entertainment industry has been getting a lot of criticism lately over the lack of racial diversity in TV and movies, and of course, over zero black actors being nominated at the 2016 Oscars. Additionally, even when there are roles tailored for people of color, white actors often end up getting the parts. A recent example of this is Exodus: Gods and Kings, which featured all white actors, including Christian Bale, playing ancient Egyptians. Emma Stone also caught flak for playing a character who’s supposed to be part Hawaiian and part Chinese in last year’s Aloha.

In an interview with The Telegraph, Mara commented on her direct involvement with the whitewashing controversy. “[It’s a] tricky thing to deal with,” the actress says. “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.” Mara is referring to a petition, signed by 96,000 people, that urged Warner Bros. to cast a Native American actress as Tiger Lily.

“I really hate, hate, hate that I am on that side of the whitewashing conversation,” Rooney continues. “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.” Looking back on the casting decisions for Pan, which also starred Hugh Jackman, Amanda Seyfried, Cara Delevigne and Garrett Hedlund, Mara admits, “I think there should have been some diversity somewhere.”

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