Two-time Oscar-nominated actress Rooney Mara regrets playing the role of a Native American character in last year’s Pan, as she said it put her on the wrong side of Hollywood’s “whitewashing” debate.
During a wide-ranging interview with The Telegraph that was published on Monday, the 30-year-old Carol actress acknowledged the backlash from her being cast to play Tiger Lily in the critical and financial flop, and expressed regret over having accepted the role.
“I really hate, hate, hate that I am on that side of the whitewashing conversation,” she told the paper. “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.”
Warner Bros. was heavily criticized for casting of mostly white actors in Pan, and a petition specifically targeting Mara garnered nearly 100,000 signatures.
“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,” she said of the backlash. She added: “It was never my intention to play a Native American girl.”
Mara further stated that she enjoyed working on the film, but regretted its mostly white cast, which included her and actors Hugh Jackman, Garrett Hedlund, and Levi Miller.
“Do I think all of the four main people in the film should have been white with blond hair and blue eyes?” she asked “No. I think there should have been some diversity somewhere.”
Commenting on the debate surrounding the controversial lack of diversity in this year’s Oscars nominees, Mara said, “I have a lot to say and I have very strong opinions about it, but it is such a sensitive issue I don’t want to reduce it to a sound bite.”
She concluded there is “absolutely” whitewashing in Hollywood, and she feels “really bad and embarrassed to be a part of that.”
Mara is one of the 20 all-white performers who were nominated for Oscars this year, and is in contention for a Best Supporting Actress award.
She was nominated for a Best Actress award in 2012 for her role in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Read the rest of her Telegraph interview here.