Angry film fans have launched a petition calling for a Native American actor to be handed the role of Tiger Lily in place of Rooney Mara for a forthcoming version of the Peter Pan story.
More than 5,000 people have so far signed the motion, which calls for Warner Bros to stop casting white actors in non-white roles. Mara, who is white, was earlier this month named as the frontrunner to play Tiger Lily in the film, entitled Pan. She reportedly beat off the competition for the part from Lupita Nyong'o, the Mexican-Kenyan star who won a best supporting actress Oscar for 12 Years a Slave, and Adèle Exarchopoulos of France, whose performance in Blue is the Warmest Colour was widely acclaimed.
"This casting choice is particularly shameful for a children's movie," said the petition. "Telling children their role models must all be white is unacceptable."
Tiger Lily is described by Peter Pan creator JM Barrie as an Indian (Native American) princess who is the daughter of Great Big Little Panther, chief of the Picaninny tribe. She has appeared in a number of film adaptations of the book, including Disney's classic 1953 animation.
Pan will also star Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard, the main villain, Garrett Hedlund as a younger Hook, and Levi Miller as Peter Pan. The film, which will be directed by Britain's Joe Wright, is due in cinemas in July 2015.