J K Rowling has condemned the “bunch of racists” on social media who complained about the casting of black actress Noma Dumezweni in the role of Hermione in the new Harry Potter play.
In an interview with The Observer this weekend, the only one Rowling, producer John Tiffany and the script writer Jack Thorne will do ahead of its first previews tomorrow (7th June), the author said she had “a great deal of difficulty” with people who said Hermione had to be white after John Tiffany, the director, cast Dumezweni in the part.
“Noma was chosen because she was the best actress for the job," Rowling said. "When John told me he’d cast her, I said, ‘Oh, that’s fabulous’ because I’d seen her in a workshop and she was fabulous. 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.”
Rowling also confirmed the storyline of the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II will focus on Harry’s son Albus Severus, and will feature Draco Malfoy’s son Scorpius.
She said: “The epilogue of the seventh book [Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Bloomsbury Children’s] is a very clear pointer as to where I was interested in going,” she explained. “It’s very obvious from that epilogue that the character I was most interested in was Albus Severus Potter. And you see Scorpius on that platform.”
Rowling also revealed she had “been around for a lot of the process” but was happy to leave the writing of the play in the hands of Thorne.
“I am not so arrogant that I think when you’ve got an absolutely top-class playwright offering to do it that I’m going to say, ‘Well, I’ve never done it before but I’ll do it,’ Rowling said. "It’s a question of knowing the limits of your own competence. I was reasonably involved in the Potter scripts. I’m more familiar with that world. I felt a degree of confidence writing a screenplay but I had supreme confidence that Jack was going to write the play that I was going to love and he has. So you can’t ask fairer than that.”
Little, Brown UK will publish the script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on 31st July.
On the play’s official YouTube channel Rowling has asked theatre-goers to “keep the secrets” about Cursed Child, so fans can enjoy the play in when they go and see it at the theatre.
Picture: © Mary McCartney
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