A magical night! Emma Watson came face-to-face with Noma Dumezweni, the actress who plays Hermione Granger in the upcoming London play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, on Thursday, July 7.
“Yesterday I went to see the Cursed Child. I came in with no idea what to expect and it was AMAZING,” the star, 26, who acted as Granger in the books’ film series, wrote on Facebook afterward. “Having seen it I felt more connected to Hermione and the stories than I have since Deathly Hallows came out, which was such a gift. Meeting Noma and seeing her on stage was like meeting my older self and have her tell me everything was going to be alright, which as you can imagine was immensely comforting (and emotional)!”
Dumezweni, who is in her forties, returned the sentiment in a series of tweets that evening. “@EmWatson It really was quite emotional to be in your company… And Thank you 4 your lovely self. We spoke of you with MAJOR respect !” she gushed.
The warm reception is a sharp contrast to the controversy that surrounded the play, a narrative set 19 years after the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the series’ final book. Devoted Potterheads criticized the casting of Dumezweni, a black actress, as she doesn’t resemble Watson, who played Granger in the book’s film series.
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling made her sentiments about Dumezweni’s casting clear from the beginning. After a fan asked about her feelings on the casting, Rowling responded with an epic tweet last December. “Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione.”
She defended the decision in a June 5 interview with The Observer as well. “Noma was chosen because she was the best actress for the job,” she said. “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.”
Watson also showed her support in a tweet in January. “Can’t wait to see Noma Dumezweni as Hermione on stage this year,” she wrote.