The lead actors have been announced for the eagerly anticipated play "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child", which will tell the story of the beloved Harry Potter series' main trio of characters as adults.
We’re thrilled to confirm Jamie Parker, Noma Dumezweni & Paul Thornley will play Harry, Hermione & Ron #CursedChild https://t.co/s1rsDbrXMO— Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (@Harry Potter and the Cursed Child)1450677694.0
Some fans of the series were surprised to see that the role of Hermione Granger, played by Emma Watson in the Harry Potter films, will be played by Noma Dumezweni, a black actress. But Potter creator J.K. Rowling has given the choice of Dumezweni a thumbs-up.
The lead actors are cast for @HPPlayLDN! Here’s what @jk_rowling had to say: https://t.co/PDkUmP3jdr #CursedChild https://t.co/RmfJO7lZ3k— Wizarding World (@Wizarding World)1450677663.0
Rowling told Pottermore.com: "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."
Noma Dumezweni, who has an extensive resume of theater roles, as well as a few television and film roles, responded tongue-in-cheek on Twitter:
Um... So. Just seen my feed BLOW UP... What's THAT about?! 😬😏😳😉!— Noma (@Noma)1450653959.0
Rowling tweeted that she loved the casting choice:
Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione 😘 https://t.co/5fKX4InjTH— J.K. Rowling (@J.K. Rowling)1450694509.0
In the books, descriptions of Hermione’s physical appearance are limited to her having "bushy brown hair and brown eyes.” Descriptions of Hermione’s personality traits – bossy, intelligent, loyal – are much more prevalent.
Some fans said on social media that the controversy reminded them of a plot point in the books in which Hermione was bullied for being a “mudblood” – a witch or wizard who has muggle (non-magic) parents. Other fans expressed disappointment that the actor playing Ron Weasley lacks the character’s signature red hair.
Several actors from the Harry Potter films expressed echoed Rowling's support for Dumezweni:
And Neville Longbottom was blonde. I really don't care. Good luck to her. https://t.co/0JNjK3Pe0V— Matthew Lewis (@Matthew Lewis)1450701240.0
"The Cursed Child" debuts in London next summer.
In the play, Harry Potter is now “an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children,” and his son Albus is “[struggling] with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted.”
In addition to "The Cursed Child," Harry Potter fans are awaiting the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a film about the Wizarding World set during the 1920s in New York.
Follow Kate Scanlon (@kgscanlon) on Twitter