J.K. Rowling said that she was prepared for the negative reactions over the casting of a black woman in the role of Hermione in the new play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.”
“With my experience of social media, I thought that idiots were going to idiot,” she told Bristish newspaper The Guardian. “But what can you say? That’s the way the world is.”
The conflict began back in December of last year when the actors cast in the roles of Harry, Ron, and Hermione were announced. That was when the world learned that black actress Noma Dumezweni had been tapped for the Hermione role, which was played by Emma Watson in the “Harry Potter” movie franchise.
Rowling said back then that she never specifically described Hermione’s race in the books. And there had been a longtime fan theory that Hermione was black. Regardless, many fans were not happy about the casting.
“I had a bunch of racists telling me that because Hermione ‘turned white’ — that is, lost colour from her face after a shock — that she must be a white woman, which I have a great deal of difficulty with,” Rowling told the newspaper. “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.”
Dumezweni, who won an Olivier award for her role in “A Raisin in the Sun,” will play Hermione 19 years after the final book in the “Harry Potter” series. The character is married to Ron (Paul Thornley), with whom she has a daughter, Rose Granger-Weasley (Cherrelle Skeete).
“Noma was chosen because she was the best actress for the job,” Rowling said.
The play, which will open July 30 at London’s Palace Theatre, sold a record-breaking 175,000 tickets in the first 24 hours during pre-sales.
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