Rooney Mara has regrets about playing Tiger Lily in Pan

The actress said she's been on the wrong side of the "whitewashing conversation"

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In the run-up to this year’s Academy Awards, the discussion about diversity in film has never been so heated. Now Pan actress Rooney Mara says she regrets finding herself on the “wrong side” of the debate in her latest movie.

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Film fans might remember that Mara – who stars alongside Cate Blanchett in Carol – came under fire for taking on the role of Tiger Lily in the Peter Pan movie, a character traditionally portrayed as a Native American in JM Barrie’s tale.

“I really hate, hate, hate that I am on that side of the whitewashing conversation. 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”, the actress told The Telegraph.

Almost 97,000 people signed a petition criticising Warner Bros. decision to cast Mara when the news was announced. While Mara was worried about merely offering up another “soundbite” in the debate about the lack of diversity in Hollywood, she admitted that she felt uncomfortable being the centre of a debate she had no control over.

“Do I think all of the four main people in the film should have been white with blonde hair and blue eyes? No. I think there should have been some diversity somewhere”, she said.

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Mara did, however, defend director Joe Wright, saying she believed his intentions were “genuine” and maintaining that she’d loved working on the film.