Why Rooney Mara Regrets Indian Tiger Lily Role in Pan

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The 2016 Screen Actors Guild Awards may have given the honor of Outstanding Supporting Actress to Alicia Vikander, but Pan actress Rooney Mara definitely did not walk away from the week empty-handed.

A day before the famed SAG Awards, the then 30-year-old quietly won the Best Supporting Actress Award at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) International Awards.

Rooney Mara wears her hair back in a tight updo at the AACTA International AwardsRooney Mara wears her hair back in a tight updo at the AACTA International Awards held on January 29, 2016, at Avalon Hollywood

One year earlier, she starred as the Indian chief’s daughter Tiger Lily in the 2015 American fantasy film Pan. In an interview with The Telegraph published in February 2016, the Carol actress opened up about the whitewashing debate that her role ignited.

“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. 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.”

Rooney Mara as the American Indian character Tiger Lily in PanRooney Mara as the American Indian character Tiger Lily in Pan

“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 added.

Rooney Mara regrets her whitewashed role as Tiger Lily in PanRooney Mara regrets her whitewashed role as Tiger Lily in Pan

Adèle Exarchopoulos, Devery Jacobs, and Lupita Nyong’o were reportedly also considered for the role of Tiger Lily. In an interview with The Guardian, director Joe Wright defended the casting of Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily.

“I liked the idea they were indigenous people who were fighting against the colonialist rule of Blackbeard,” said Wright.

“I can understand how it appears from the outside perspective,” the English film director added about the racebending controversy. “But when people see the film, they get it.”

“Tiger Lily is the bad-ass warrior who is far more proactive physically in defeating Blackbeard than any of the boys. I was particularly keen to make sure [she] wasn’t a damsel in distress. She has all the action sequences.”

Joe Wright has defended the casting of Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily in the 2015 American fantasy film PanJoe Wright has defended the casting of Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily in the 2015 American fantasy film Pan

“When little girls come out of seeing the movie, their favorite character always is Tiger Lily,” the director argued.

“When asked why, they say, ‘Because she can do anything.’ I think she is quite an empowering character for little girls and that to me is really gratifying.”

Rooney arrived in her signature all-black look, this time opting for a red carpet favorite of hers: Givenchy.

Rooney Mara wears an all-black Givenchy ensemble on the red carpetRooney Mara wears an all-black Givenchy ensemble on the red carpet

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo actress donned an off the shoulder dress from the Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci Fall 2016 collection that flared out into beautiful ruffles at the bottom.

Rooney Mara's feet in black Givenchy screw-heeled sandalsRooney Mara’s feet in black Givenchy screw-heeled sandals

She wore her hair back in her typical severe updo and applied a slick of vampy lipstick to her face.

The Social Network actress finished her ensemble with a pair of Givenchy’s infamous screw-heeled sandals.

Rooney Mara wears simple eye makeup and dark lipstick on the AACTA red carpetRooney Mara wears simple eye makeup and dark lipstick on the AACTA red carpet

The AACTA International Awards may not be as widely known as the SAG Awards, but the acknowledgment she received for her brilliant “Carol” performance still speaks volumes.

Rooney was photographed breaking into a rare smile backstage with her trophy.

Rooney’s popular Givenchy heels are no longer available online but do check out other screw-heeled footwear from the same brand over at Nordstrom and Farfetch.

Givenchy Screw-Heel d'Orsay PumpsGivenchy Screw-Heel d’Orsay Pumps, $995

Givenchy 'Matilda' Pumps in Black and White LeatherGivenchy ‘Matilda’ Pumps in Black and White Leather, $519 – $1,295

Givenchy 'Maremma' Leather Point-Toe PumpsGivenchy ‘Maremma’ Leather Point-Toe Pumps, $1,350

Credit: FayesVision / WENN / Ivan Nikolov

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