I am convinced that some in Hollywood think that they are living in 1955 instead of 2015.
The trailer for the latest Peter Pan adaptation, Pan, has been released.
In this adaptation Tiger Lily is played by Rooney Mara. Ms. Mara is Caucasian.
I am sure that she is a talented performer, but I am also sure that there are Native American performers who are just as capable and talented.
Even NBC, when they were casting for last year’s Peter Pan Live saw the light and cast a Native American performer in the same role.
I understand that it is called show business for a reason. The studios are at the end of the day, looking to make a profit. That means they may be more inclined to choose a known performer with a proven track record over an unknown.
But what message do they send when Hollywood continually casts a Caucasian performer in a non-Caucasian role?
It’s not 1955. It’s 2015. It’s time to stop giving the majority of roles to Caucasian actors and open the door to greater opportunities to non-Caucasian actors.
Peter Pan is the immortal youth. He is energetic, optimistic, intelligent and just a little full of himself.
Last night, NBC aired Peter Pan Live. Starring in the title role was Allison Williams. Playing Peter’s long time nemesis, Captain Hook was Christopher Walken.
Using the same format as they did last with the Sound Of Music (live television program, classic family friendly musical, hiring Broadway and non Broadway actors), NBC has created a new tradition.
The supporting cast included Taylor Louderman as teenage Wendy, Christian Borle doubling as Smee/Mr. Darling, Kelli O’Hara as Mrs. Darling and Minnie Driver as the narrator/adult Wendy whom we meet briefly at the end of the program.
I liked this Peter Pan. Whatever was missing from Sound Of Music last year was not missing from Peter Pan. Despite being known for non Broadway roles, Williams and Walken were well cast. Williams played Peter with the right mixture of youthful energy and silent questioning. Walken, for his part, was foppish, but with just enough menace to keep the audience on their toes. The supporting cast, especially Broadway veterans Borle and O’Hara gave the program a nice authentic Broadway feeling. Louderman, as the teenage Wendy, represented the feelings and changes that many of us go through in our early teens. The icing on the cake was Driver as the adult Wendy, giving the audience both a nice ending for her adventures with Peter, while opening the door for her daughter’s adventures with Peter.
There was some changes from the stage production, most notably that the Captain Hook and Mr. Darling are usually played by the same actor. But I was fine with the choice of Smee and Mr. Darling played by Borle instead. The only thing that was missing was the authentic Broadway audience reaction. I’ve seen Peter Pan on Broadway. The reaction of the audience, which is mostly young kids is immediate and powerful. The scene where Tinkerbell has drunk the poison and Peter breaks the fourth wall to bring her back to life is not the same as it is front of a live audience.
But overall, I have to say that it was enjoyable and I cannot get those songs out of my head.
And I could not stop thinking about Robin Williams. I think he would love this Peter Pan.