Rooney Mara’s controversial casting as Tiger Lily, in Pan

Rooney Mara’s role as Tiger Lily in Warner Brothers’ upcoming movie, Pan, has created a large uproar among potential movie-goers.

Pan is an adaptation of J. M. Barrie’s character Peter Pan–someone we’re all familiar with through the Disney movie Peter Pan. Director Joe Wright’s take on this classic details the origin of the famous story of the young boy, and his eventual arrival at Neverland; however, news of the movie has been creating a lot of buzz–but for all the wrong reasons.

Many are accusing Warner Bros. of whitewashing the Native American character, Tiger Lily by hiring a Caucasian actress to portray her.

According to IMDb, both Lupita Nyong’o and Devery Jacobs auditioned for the part of Tiger Lily. Nyong’o is African American while Jacobs is Native American. Many agree that Jacobs would be a more ethnically accurate actress.

The Wrap reports that Wright intended to make this film “very international and multi-racial, effectively challenging audiences’ preconceived notions of Neverland and reimagining the environment.” Yet, lead characters, Blackbeard and Peter Pan, are played by Caucasian actors Hugh Jackman and Levi Miller, respectively.

This lack of representation of other races in the media, such as the casting of Tiger Lily, did not go unnoticed. Since the announcement of Mara’s role in March, fans and movie-goers alike have expressed anger regarding the casting choice. A petition titled “Warner Bros: Stop Casting White Actors to Play People of Color!” was created. Over 50,000 people and counting have signed this petition as of November.

Will director Wright honor his original intentions? The outlook seems bleak yet optimistic. While the role of Tiger Lily will not likely be recasted, people young and old are taking action against the underrepresented minority populations in the entertainment industry. Mara’s controversial casting in Pan could be the catalyst to many positive changes in the media.