Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling and the original actress that portrayed Hermione Granger, Emma Watson, have offered their full-support for Noma Dumezweni being cast as the kind, know-it-all witch in the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child stage play. However, their endorsements haven't quelled vocal critics that are still having a hard time adjusting to the notion that an acclaimed Shakespearean actress with a darker complexion than Watson could play the beloved character.
Dumezweni, 45, is well aware of the Internet outcry and believes she knows where that line of thought originates. "It stems from ignorance," she told the Evening Standard. "They don’t want to be a part of the creative act. To say it’s not as it was intended is so unimaginative. I don’t think they understand how theatre works. We’re here to heal you, make you smile and whisk you away."
Instead of questioning whether or not an actress should play a role based on their skin color, Dumezweni thinks fans should be concerned with an actor's talent (or lack thereof). "The only question we should ask is ‘Are they good?’" she added. "I’ve met great actors black and white and I’ve met bad actors black and white."
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 school-age 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 London’s West End in late May.