‘Pan’ Casts Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily and Adeel Akhtar as Smee

Published 1 year ago by

pan tiger lily rooney mara Pan Casts Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily and Adeel Akhtar as Smee

One of the recent Hollywood crazes is exploring the origins of famous literary characters, be it The Wizard of Oz (last year’s Oz the Great and Powerful), the evil sorceress from the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale (this May’s Maleficent), or next year’s Peter Pan origin film, which is simply titled Pan.

Joe Wright (Hanna, Anna Karenina) is directing Pan from a screenplay by Jason Fuchs (Ice Age: Continental Drift). The story not only reveals how young Peter found his way to Neverland, but also how be initially befriended the pirate James Bartholomew Hook – in the days before the latter’s surname became quite literal, after he lost one of his hands, replaced it a hook, and become Pan’s sworn enemy.

Traditionally, Hook (who’s being played by Garrett Hedlund in Wright’s film) gets his hand chopped off by Peter, but it remains to be seen if Fuchs’ Pan script keeps that plot point or deviates from the classic mythos. Either way, the primary antagonist in Pan will be the pirate Blackbeard, as portrayed by Hugh Jackman in a rare – and thus, all the more welcome – villainous turn.

The Wrap is reporting that Rooney Mara – star of David Fincher’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo adaptation and Steven Soderbergh’s last theatrical release Side Effects – has entered negotiations to play Tiger Lily in Wright’s. Furthermore, English actor Adeel Akhtar looks set to play Hook’s second-in-command, Smee. Akhtar’s resume includes supporting roles in past Hollywood fare like Traitor and The Dictator, though he may be best known for appearing in the British terrorist dark comedy/satire Four Lions.

peter pan smee adeel akhtar Pan Casts Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily and Adeel Akhtar as Smee

Adeel Akhtar will play Smee in ‘Pan’

Additionally, The Wrap‘s article reveals that Wright “plans to create a diverse Neverland and challenge audiences’ preconceived notions of the magical world first depicted in J.M. Barrie’s classic tale” – ergo Smee not being white in this film. That’s all good and fine, but that claim does make it all the more curious that Mara has been cast as Tiger Lily – a character who is generally portrayed as a Native American princess.

It’s probably safe to assume that Wright is well-aware of that – not to mention, that Warner Bros. would like to avoid generating a Pan controversy reminiscent of the recent debate about Johnny Depp playing Tonto in Lone Ranger. Hence, Mara’s casting may be a signal that the version of Tiger Lily in Wright’s film is going to be a more radical departure from past iterations.

Maybe Fuch’s script simply changes her backstory, so that Tiger Lily now has a non-definite ethnicity – something that would indeed buck “preconceived notions” about the Neverland princess. That might help to sidestep lingering bad associations with how the character has historically been portrayed onscreen (case in point) – though, in fairness, P.J. Hogan’s 2003 live-action Peter Pan movie adaptation did cast Haida actress Carsen Grey in the role.


Pan opens in 2D and 3D theaters in the U.S. on July 17th, 2015.

Source: The Wrap

Follow Sandy Schaefer on Twitter @feynmanguy
TAGS: Pan, Peter pan
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  1. Could be wrong but I believe that is Jason Mantzoukas next to Cohen.

    • My apologies, it’s been corrected.

  2. I suppose if Pan takes it own course and it mass sense then sure. But, I hope their isn’t a “white” indian princess controversy. Depp as Tonto as Depp did not help the Lone Ranger, imo. Mara has the benefit of not being over-exposed.

    • Mulligan

      I suppose if Pan takes it own course and it makes sense, then sure. But, I hope there isn’t a “white” indian princess controversy. Depp as Tonto as Depp did not help the Lone Ranger, imo. R.Mara has the benefit of not being as over exposed as Depp.

  3. We couldn’t be bothered hiring a Native American actress for a Native American part, but it’s chill, we’ve got an Indian guy playing Smee. Hollywood Logic.

    • Adeel Akhtar is British. So because his skin is a different color it’s ‘Hollywood logic’ for casting him as a pirate? Oh the irony of your comment.

      • I’m well aware of his nationality, I am simply pointing out what is the one of if not the main reasons he was cast. In no way is my post ironic, think carefully next time before you try to jump in quick by making yourself look witty and clever.

        • ‘I am simply pointing out what is the one of if not the main reasons he was cast.’ That comment made absolutely no sense, can you please use some proper sentence structuring, and maybe a REAL defence as to why your comment was stupid.

    • What’s wrong with an Indian guy playing Smee? Is he supposed to be white or something, lol? Adeel Akhtar doesn’t exactly sound like an Indian name either.

  4. Wouldn’t it actually be more daring if they actually cast a Native American woman to be a Native American princess? Going the white way seems like the easy way.

    • Could say that about most of Sir Sean Connery’s movie roles. Bond was English, his characters in Highlander and The Hunt For Red October were Spanish and Russian, he was meant to be an Englishman in The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

      All played with his thick Scottish accent. Not one eyelid batted.

  5. I still can’t take this movie seriously, not because it sounds stupid but because I already saw a Peter Pan prequel with Rhys Ifans as James Hook, Anna Friel as the captain of the pirate ship Hook eventually takes over, Bob Hoskins reprising his Smee role and Charles Dance as Queen Elizabeth I’s alchemist. I think Keira Knightley voiced Tinkerbell too.

    Good mini-series, well worth watching.

  6. It’s okay to cast a black person in a white role, but it’s an outrage to cast a white person in a native american role.

    • No, but this casting probably doesn’t bother you at all even though you’re still mad about a Black Human Torch.

  7. she white as wonder bread
    when will white hollywood learn?

  8. Meh