Conklin-raised actress cast as Tiger Lily in Disney's live-action 'Peter Pan' remake

Cree actress Alyssa Wapanatâhk. Supplied Image

Share Adjust Comment Print

Fort McMurray-born actress Alyssa Wapanatâhk, 22, has been cast as Tiger Lily in Disney’s upcoming live-action film, “Peter Pan & Wendy.”

The news was first announced by TheWrap.com on Oct. 16 and confirmed by Wapanatâhk on her social media accounts. She has not yet been made available for interviews.

Wapanatâhk joins a cast that includes Jude Law as Captain Hook, Yara Shahidi as Tinker Bell, Ever Anderson as Wendy and Alexander Molony as Peter Pan.

According to Wapanatâhk’s website, she is a member of the Bigstone Cree First Nation near Wabasca. She was born in Fort McMurray and went to school in the city between grades two and eight.

However, much of her upbringing was in Conklin and she often spent holidays and weekends in the hamlet. She also describes going to nearby First Nations, Janvier and Fort Chipewyan for snow drags and cultural days.

“It is so beautiful there and I can talk about that place forever,” she wrote about Conklin.

Earlier this month, the actress announced on her Instagram page she recently changed her name to Wapanatâhk, the Cree name she was born with that translates to “first star in the sky” or “morning star.” Her family name is Alook. The change is part of her efforts to understand and promote the Cree language and culture.

This is Wapanatâhk’s first feature film role, as much of her previous work has been in short films. Last year, she was selected to create a short film with the Indigenous Storyteller program through Storyhive, a Telus-funded program focusing on independent filmmakers in Alberta and B.C.

The $20,000 grant led to a nine-minute drama Wapanatâhk wrote, produced and directed titled The Boy and the Braid, which is about an Indigenous boy’s cultural journey as he grows up with braided hair on and off reserve.

“I believe that now people are starting to listen to Indigenous peoples’ stories and given the opportunity we can help each other heal and teach something to those who don’t know what we experience,” she told the Edmonton Journal after she was given funding for the project.

“I really hope that I can reach the young people of the next generation that go through these experiences as a boy having braids growing up in modern day society.”

A release date for the film has yet to be scheduled. It is also unknown if the film will be shown in theatres, streamed exclusively on Disney+, or some combination of the two.

-with files from The Canadian Press and Dustin Cook

vmcdermott@postmedia.com

Comments