“Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” the Harry Potter prequel film to be released next year, has been submitted to harsh criticism after its all-white main cast was announced to the public.
The cast is formed by Oscar winner and rising Hollywood star Eddie Redmayne on the lead role, along with Katherine Waterston, Colin Farrell and Dan Fogel on the main supporting roles. The absence of a person of color between the main characters —which the Harry Potter series also had— has generated controversy among the audience.
David Heyman, the film’s executive producer who was also involved in all the movies from the Harry Potter franchise, defended the project explaining that, as it happened in Harry Potter, the story addresses the issues of segregation and tries to deliver a message of tolerance.
“Like all of Rowling’s works, Fantastic Beasts is populated with a variety of people and that will be the same in this series over the course of the films. There will be people of various types of ethnicities. In New York in the 1920s, there was a segregation between white and black, the neighborhoods were largely separate, and that is reflected in the film. But the wizarding world is a much more open and tolerant society where people of color and different ethnic backgrounds exist harmoniously together. There are people of color filling this world in an organic way,” he argued in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.
When a twitter user urged people to call Rowling out on her all-white main cast choice, the author responded that not everyone on the story was white and that people should wait to see the movie before judging.
In fact, Gemma Chan and Carmen Ejogo, both women of color, will also be starting in the movie. However, internet users still complain that people of color need better media representation that goes beyond minor supporting roles.
On the topic of racial segregation, the cast’s diversity isn’t the only scandal that the prequel has generated. Since the story will take place in New York, Rowling came up with an American version of the word “muggle” —which is a discriminatory term against non-magic users in the Harry Potter world—, and will now be called “no-maj,” some sort of slang for “no magic” that fans deem as unnecessary and unimaginative.
With all its expectation and controversy, Warner Brothers’ adaptation of the 2001 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be released next year on November 18.
Source: Entertainment Weekly.