Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 27 October 2020

Flying high: Yara Shahidi cast as Tinker Bell in live-action 'Peter Pan' remake

The part-Iranian actress will be the first person of colour to portray the pocket-sized fairy on screen

Yara Shahidi will play Tinker Bell in an upcoming remake of 'Peter Pan'. Getty Images
Yara Shahidi will play Tinker Bell in an upcoming remake of 'Peter Pan'. Getty Images

Yara Shahidi will have an extra bit of magic in her latest role.

The Black-ish actress has been cast as Tinker Bell in the upcoming live-action remake of Disney favourite Peter Pan, the star confirmed this weekend.

American-Iranian Shahidi, 20, will play the pocket-sized fairy, and friend to the titular "boy who wouldn't grow up", in the David Lowery-directed film. Lowery also directed 2016's Pete's Dragon.

The news marks the first time that an actor of colour has been selected to play the character on film. In Disney's 1953 animation, Tinker Bell was portrayed as a blonde-haired, blue-eyed fairy, who did not speak, but produced chiming sounds when gesturing.

In the 1991 film Hook, which featured Robin Williams as the grown-up Pan who returned to Neverland, Julia Roberts portrayed the pixieish sprite. A 2003 remake, meanwhile, combined a performance by Ludivine Sagnier with digital effects to create Pan's magical companion.

Shahidi, whose father is Iranian photographer Afshin Shahidi, joins a cast that already includes Jude Law as Captain Hook, Alexander Molony as Peter Pan and newcomer Ever Anderson as Wendy.

"Thank you for all of the love. It, truly, means so much to me," the actress posted on Instagram after the news was revealed, alongside a cartoon of her as the green-dressed fairy. "Iโ€™m excited for this next adventure!"

Shahidi rose to fame playing Zoey Johnson on the sitcom Black-ish, which debuted in 2014. She currently plays the character on spin-off Grown-ish, as well as studying at Harvard, after beginning her degree in 2018.

A release date has not yet been announced for the remake of J M Barrie's 1911 novel, which is centred around the mischievous Pan, a boy who lives in the magical world of Neverland.

Surrounded by pirates, mermaids and his gang of the Lost Boys, the flying Pan whisks away Wendy Darling and her two brothers from their world to Neverland, where they embark on a series of adventures.

Shahidi's casting follows Disney's bid to diversify its on-screen presence, after last year announcing her Grown-ish co-star Halle Bailey would play Ariel in a live-action remake of The Little Mermaid.

Updated: September 27, 2020 06:11 PM

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