A black actress playing Hermione Granger? J.K. Rowling has no problem with that.
The bestselling author of the Harry Potter books has responded to mixed reactions after the cast for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child — a new London play featuring Harry as an adult — was announced Monday.
The role of Hermione, made famous in the film versions by Emma Watson, will be played by Swaziland-born actress Noma Dumezweni. Jamie Parker will portray title character Harry Potter, while Paul Thornley will play Ron Weasley, taking over from film series stars Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, respectively.
"I'm so excited with the choice of casting for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. I can't wait to see Jamie, Noma and Paul bring the adult Harry, Hermione and Ron to life on stage next summer," Rowling said in an interview with her Pottermore website.
Responding to some negative reaction of Dumezweni's casting, the author added, on Twitter, that the character's skin colour had in fact never been specified in the books. "Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione," she wrote, adding a kissing emoji at the end.
Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione 😘 https://t.co/5fKX4InjTH— @jk_rowling
Some of the actors from the film series also deflected negative reactions via social media, including Evanna Lynch, who portrayed Luna Lovegood, and Matthew Lewis, who portrayed Neville Longbottom.
Tbh new Hermione is black, Harry looks like Ron, when I was cast ppl complained about my HAIR & it is people's❤️ NOT their looks that matter— @Evy_Lynch
And Neville Longbottom was blonde. I really don't care. Good luck to her. https://t.co/0JNjK3Pe0V— @Mattdavelewis
Based on an original new story by Rowling, Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will premiere in London's West End this summer.
The first official Harry Potter tale to be presented onstage, The Cursed Child continues the wizard world saga Rowling created in her blockbuster novel series. It picks up with adult and father-of-three Harry at the end of the final film. According to the play's synopsis:
It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn't much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three schoolage children.
While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opens at Palace Theatre in London on July 30.