Warner Bros. apparently learned nothing from Disney’s experience, when it was besieged by protests over the “The Lone Ranger.”
Native American groups where upset not only by the fact that Johnny Depp was playing the Lone Ranger’s sidekick Tonto, a Native American, but also because of the way the character was portrayed.
Tonto was supposed to be a Comanche Indian, but Depp’s use of ghastly white face-paint and a dead crow headdress wasn’t even close to authentic during the Old West era.
Jay Silverheels, a Canadian Mohawk Indian, was best known as Tonto. Silverheels, who died in 1980, played the character in the long-running television series in the early 1950s and in two Lone Ranger movies.
To quell the protests, Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn earmarked 100 percent of proceeds from ticket sales to the film’s world premiere to the American Indian College Fund.
Author J. M. Barrie, who wrote the Peter Pan books, portrayed Tiger Lily as a tribal princess living on the island of Neverland. She’s joined by Peter, an orphan who is captured by pirates and whisked off to Neverland.
In the books, Tiger Lily never speaks. Whether Mara will do the same remains to be seen.
Director Joe Wright and script writer Jason Fuchs reportedly are re-imagining the original work into a “multi-racial/international” story, according to trade paper Variety.
“Pan” is scheduled for release July 17, 2015. Let’s see if Warner Bros. can handle the heat from protesters better than Disney.
As for Mara, get out while you still can.