Yara Shahidi recently discussed the significance of her role as Tinker Bell in Disney’s upcoming live-action film “Peter Pan & Wendy.”
The “Grown-ish” actor told Byrdie in a cover story published Tuesday that she was drawn to the role after learning why Disney executives and the film’s director, David Lowery, wanted to reimagine the story of “Peter Pan,” a J.M. Barrie novel and 1953 animated film.
“They wanted to bring some new fun to this classic but also give us the fairy tale we deserve,” she said. “It’s evident they’re not just popping Black and Brown folks in the cast for the sake of updating the story. Instead, it’s about creating a story that so many more people can see themselves in after we’ve been left out for so long.”
Shahidi has discussed some of the backlash she has faced as a Black actor portraying Tinker Bell.
“I think oftentimes people think of diversity and inclusion as threatening or jeopardizing the quality of the story, instead of seeing how beautifully they can be interwoven together to create something that impacts even more people, that lets even more people into stories that we love,” she told The Hollywood Reporter earlier this month.
Nonetheless, Shahidi said she was focused on celebrating the fact that people will “feel included in this fairy tale.”
Disney released the official trailer for “Peter Pan & Wendy” last month. The film is set to premiere on Disney+ on April 28.
Shahidi’s “Grown-ish” co-star Halle Bailey is also playing an iconic Disney character. She was cast as Ariel in the highly anticipated Disney live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid.”
Bailey’s casting has similarly spurred racist backlash from people evidently distressed that a Black woman is playing Ariel.
Disney revealed the official trailer for the film during the Oscars earlier this month. “The Little Mermaid” is set to hit theaters on May 26.