The first trailer for Joe Wright’s “multi-racial” Pan features orphans, fairies, mermaids, and Hugh Jackman doing his best scenery chewing. It also features some egregious whitewashing.
On the surface, Pan is another in a long list of fairy tale remakes where the villain becomes “woobified”. Of course, the most recent example of this is Maleficent with Angelina Jolie. In Pan, it looks like Captain Hook/James Hook, played by Garrett Hedlund, will be one of the protagonists and actually teams up with Peter, before — ultimately — becoming his arch-nemesis.
This actually looks like it could be fun, which is a shame, because I can’t get past the Tiger Lily scenes. It’s bad enough that Peter Pan has a history of racism and perpetuating stereotypes about Native Americans. Disney’s Peter Pan has one of the most offensive portrayals of Native Americans I’ve ever seen.
But casting a white girl as Tiger Lily in the 2015 adaptation? “The Pan is our tribe’s bravest warrior.” Our tribe? It just looks like a gang of white people at Coachella, although I’m sure they’ll throw in a few minorities in the background. The Wrap reported that director Joe Wright was making a “very international and multi-racial” world, but I’m not seeing any of that in the trailer. Hell, all of the character posters feature white people. Levi Miller as Peter, Garrett Hedlund as Hook, Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily, and Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard. We also see a glimpse of model/actress Cara Delevingne as a mermaid. How exactly are you “challenging audiences’ preconceived notions”?
It also looks like Pan will be pushing a romance between Hook and Tiger Lily.
— Rebecca Pahle (@RebeccaPahle) November 25, 2014
— Steph (@stephgrk) November 25, 2014
— Ferdie the Geek (@For_Cinema) November 25, 2014
This is our new Tiger Lily. Totally totally totally cool. Nothing at all to feel awkward about. pic.twitter.com/rm1Tdstxnx
— Joanna Robinson (@jowrotethis) November 25, 2014
— Eric Haywood (@Eric_Haywood) November 25, 2014
And I know I’m late to this party – but WHY is Tiger Lily white???
— Charlotte Nicdao (@charlottenicdao) November 25, 2014
You can expect more whitewashing — this time of the historical variety — when Exodus comes out.
Read Chantal Rondeau’s article on xoJane about redface and Native Americans in Hollywood. “There are not a lot of mainstream roles out there for Native actresses, although we have some great actresses: Devery Jacobs (Rhymes for Young Ghouls), Tanaya Beatty (Twilight, Arctic Air), and Julia Jones (Twilight) — among many others who have both the talent and the beauty to be an A-List actor.”
The story of an orphan who is spirited away to the magical Neverland. There, he finds both fun and dangers, and ultimately discovers his destiny — to become the hero who will be forever known as Peter Pan.
Pan opens July 17, 2015.