J.K. Rowling Speaks Out About Criticism of Black Actress as Hermione in Harry Potter Stage Play
J.K. Rowling is speaking out about her anger over some fans criticizing the casting of a black actress to play Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter stage play.
Swaziland-born British actress Noma Dumezweni will play Hermione in the two-part “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,” which follows Harry in his later years as a parent and Ministry of Magic employee. The debuts on London’s West End in July.
“I had a bunch of racists telling me that because Hermione ‘turned white’ – that is, lost color from her face after a shock – that she must be a white woman, which I have a great deal of difficulty with,” Rowling tells The Observer in the U.K. “But I decided not to get too agitated about it and simply state quite firmly that Hermione can be a black woman with my absolute blessing and enthusiasm.”
J.K. Rowling Notes that Hermione’s Race Was Never Specified in Harry Potter Books
Some Potter fans took issue with a black actress portraying Hermione, who has been brought to life by Emma Watson–a white actress–for nearly 10 years on the big screen. But Rowling has noted that in her books Hermione has never been described as white
“With my experience of social media, I thought that idiots were going to idiot,” Rowling says. “But what can you say? That’s the way the world is. Noma was chosen because she was the best actress for the job.”
Emma Watson, who originated the Hermione role in the “Harry Potter” movie franchise, took to Twitter in January to endorse Dumezweni. “Can’t wait to see Noma Dumezweni as Hermione on stage this year,” Watson tweeted Saturday, adding several heart emojis.
According to the official synopsis, “Cursed Child” shows the grownup Harry as he “grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs” while “his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted.”
Harry is being played by Jamie Parker, Roy Weasley by Paul Thornley and Draco Malfoy by Alex Price.