Progress on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the stage-play sequel to JK Rowling’s series about The Boy Who Lived, has been moving along at a fairly impressive pace lately, especially since fans went so long knowing next to nothing about the new show. Today we have possibly the biggest piece of news about the play – who will be playing Harry and his friends. And depending on what parts of the internet you hang out at, one member of the cast will either thrill or enrage you.
The part of post-Epilogue Harry Potter will be played by Jamie Parker. Parker is currently playing Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls and has previously been seen in High Society, As You Like It, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and both the stage and film versions of The History Boys. Other film and television work has included appearances in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, The Hour and Valkyrie.
Ron Weasley will be played by Paul Thornley. Thornley’s stage credits include Noises Off, A Chorus of Disapproval, Private Fears in Public Places and The Three Musketeers. He recently reprised his role of Dodge for the film adaptation of the play London Road. His other TV and film credits are mostly small roles in things like Les Misérables and the Life on Mars spin-off, Ashes to Ashes.
The casting that will cause the most controversy however, is easily Noma Dumezweni as Hermione Granger. The Olivier Award-winning actress has starred on stage in Linda, The Winter’s Tale, Romeo and Juliet and A Raisin In The Sun. TNS readers would probably recognize her from Doctor Who, where she played UNIT Captain Erisa Magambo in several episodes (making her the latest in a very long line of actors to appear in both Doctor Who and Harry Potter).
Her casting is getting very different reactions over the internet. There are the predictable shouts of “BUT SHE’S SPOSED TO BE WHITE!!!!!!” but more interesting (and more positive) is the joy from less angry parts of fandom. It’s been a long-lived headcanon among many fans that Hermione was intended to be (and is easily read as) a black character. Seriously, Google “black Hermione” or “POC Hermione” and see the pages upon pages of fan art. Perhaps the best reaction came from JK Rowling herself. When asked about it on Twitter, the author voiced her support.
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
Mic drop. (Or should that be wand drop?)
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opens at the Palace Theatre in London in June 2016.