Harry Potter play casts Noma Dumezweni as Hermione
This is an opinion piece. The opinions expressed in this piece are solely the authors and are not shared by The Tertangala
The eighth chapter of the Harry Potter series is facing a lot of criticism after casting Noma Dumezweni, a black actress originally from Swaziland, as Hermione Jean Granger.
— Cursed Child Play (@HPPlayLDN) December 21, 2015
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child picks up where the epilogue to the Deathly Hallows left off – in play form.
Many got used to the idea that Hermione is supposed to be played by a white actress when Emma Watson stepped into the role, however even the creator of the Wizarding World is excited by a woman of colour taking on the role.
Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione 😘 https://t.co/5fKX4InjTH
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) December 21, 2015
There are many people who are angry at this casting, but so many people are excited about the casting, arguing that Hermione’s intelligence, bravery and sincerity is not limited to the colour of her skin.
The character of Hermione isn’t the first character to be cast as a person of colour in a new adaptation. Earlier this year, Fantastic Four was rebooted, with Johnny Storm A.K.A The Human Torch, a character originally portrayed by Chris Evans, played by Michael B. Jordan.
The Creed actor said that after he was cast as the superhero, he went to the Internet to gage the reaction. In an article he wrote for Entertainment Weekly, he said,
“Some people may look at my casting as political correctness or an attempt to meet a racial quota, or as part of the year of “Black Film.” Or they could look at it as a creative choice by the director, Josh Trank, who is in an interracial relationship himself – a reflection of what the modern family looks like today…
Sometimes you have to be the person who stands up and says, ‘I’ll be the one to shoulder all this hate. I’ll take the brunt for the next couple of generations.’ I put that responsibility on myself. People are always going to see each other in terms of race, but maybe in the future we won’t talk about it as much. Maybe, if I set an example, Hollywood will start considering more people of color in other prominent roles, and maybe we can reach the people who are stuck in the mindset that ‘it has to be true to the comic book.’ Or maybe we have to reach past them.”
By continuously rebooting films, TV shows and plays with the same type of cast as it previously was depicted; it defeats the purpose of reboots and sequels. They are intended as a reimagining, meaning they have no set of rules that they must abide by. It shouldn’t be about casting a body double, but someone who can take previous dimensions of the role and turn it into something new. It should be about the quality of acting, not the colour of someone’s skin. By repeating type casting, certain groups will never be able to take on classic and much loved roles. People should be able to see themselves in the characters they love – whether they are people of colour, women, a member or the LGBTQIA+ community or a person with disability.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opens in July 2016.