US actress Yara Shahidi just landed a major new role. The part-Middle Eastern star is set to play Tinkerbell in Disney’s “Peter Pan and Wendy,” the studio’s latest live-action adaptation.
Shahidi joins a cast that includes Jude Law as Captain Hook, Alexander Molony as Peter Pan and newcomer Ever Anderson, who will play Wendy.
This would mark the first time a person of color has filled the role that traditionally has featured a white actress.
The decision follows recent moves by Disney to diversify their casting.
The 20-year-old follows in the footsteps of her “Grown-ish” co-star Halle Bailey, who was selected by Disney to play Ariel in the live-action remake of “The Little Mermaid.” Meanwhile, US actor Niles Fitch was cast as the studio’s first live-action Black prince in “Secret Society of Second-Born Royals” on Disney+.
Directed by David Lowery, and co-written with Toby Halbrooks, the upcoming film is based on the classic J.M. Barrie novel about Peter Pan, the boy who wouldn’t age, and his adventures in the magical world of Neverland.
In the novel and films, Tinkerbell is a fairy and Peter Pan’s closest friend. She was famously portrayed by Julia Roberts in Steven Spielberg’s 1991 retelling “Hook.”
Shahidi is best known for her starring role on ABC’s “Black-ish,” as well as being the star and producer of its college spinoff “Grown-ish.”
In July, the star, whose father is US-Iranian, and her mother Keri Shahidi, announced the launch of their new production company, 7th Sun, and signed an exclusive overall deal with ABC Studios which will see them develop television projects for streaming, cable and broadcast, making the actress the youngest network producer ever.
In addition to her critically-acclaimed roles on “Black-ish” and “Grown-ish,” the young mogul’s other acting credits include shows like “The First Family” and “Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia.” Additionally, she recently led the young adult drama “The Sun is Also a Star.”
She was also a co-executive producer on the Oscar-winning short film “Hair Love.”
As well as acting, Yara is widely recognized for her commitment to activism. The actor founded Yara’s Club in partnership with the Young Women’s Leadership Network (YWLN) of New York, which provides an online mentoring program to help end poverty through education.
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