J.K. Rowling has given her “absolute blessing” to Olivier-winning British thesp Noma Dumezweni for her role as an adult Hermione Granger in the upcoming London stage production “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”.
When the casting was first announced last year, Rowling said she never defined Hermione’s race in the books and said she ‘loved’ the idea of a non-white actress filling the character’s shoes. Now, in a new interview with The Observer, she talked about her frustration with the online reaction to the casting:
“Noma was chosen because she was the best actress for the job… I had a bunch of racists telling me that because Hermione ‘turned white’ – that is, lost color from her face after a shock – that she must be a white woman, which I have a great deal of difficulty with. 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.”
The two-part production will open at the Palace Theatre in London’s West End at the end of July with previews beginning this week. Emma Watson played Hermione in the eight “Harry Potter” films, but this is a new story – one which picks up where the seventh, and final, book left off. Specifics of the plot remain under wraps.