New movie Come Away lets Alice In Wonderland, Peter Pan take flight with multiracial cast

Actress Keira Chansa said the chance to play the young Alice was refreshing. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - The titular characters in Alice In Wonderland and Peter Pan are brother and sister in the new fantasy film, Come Away, that puts a new spin on two of the best-known British children's classic stories.

And that is not all. Both Peter and Alice are played by multiracial young actors, with actor David Oyelowo, 44, playing their father and actress Angelina Jolie, 45, playing their mother in turn-of-the-20th-century England.

"They are iconic characters in beloved fairy tales, but we've never seen them put together," said Oyelowo, best known for playing American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr in Selma (2014).

"These are fictional fantasy characters that race is not something that is tied to their representation on film," he added. "I think there are far more people who are going to celebrate what we do in this film than the few and small voices who take umbrage with it."

Come Away is released in American movie theatres on Friday (Nov 13) and in Britain on Dec 4.

American director Brenda Chapman said she was initially looking to cast a white man in the role until Oyelowo's name came up.

"This is something new. And it opens up the world to so many more people (by making) these characters more relatable," said Chapman, 58, who described herself as a middle-aged white woman.

Actress Keira Chansa said the chance to play the young Alice was refreshing.

"I've always watched the films and read the books, and it was always a white girl," she said. "So to be able to experience it, to be somebody who looks like me, is a big change in the world and makes a big difference."

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