Child actor, Yashua Mack, has become the first black actor to play Peter Pan after he featured in a new movie – Wendy – which premiered February 28.
Mack, who was chosen out of 1, 500 children played a role in the new retelling of the Peter Pan story.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the film’s director Benh Zeitlin said he chose Mack because of his innate ability to find the character.
“Yashua lived in a Rastafari camp in Antigua. A lot of places you see in the film are their playground,” the Beasts of the Southern Wild‘s director said. “Seeing this little boy drop into character was one of the most shocking things I’ve ever experienced in my life. He just inherently understood how to perform.”
He further disclosed that he wanted to retell the story to address the original story’s racist overtones.
“Radically dismantling the history of the story was a huge reason why we wanted to tell it. His character and the story has been so important to me,” he said.
“But you look back at iterations of it and they’re wildly sexist. They’re wildly racist, the way they portrayed Native Americans, usually,” Zeitlin added.