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J.K. Rowling backs Noma Dumezweni's casting in Harry Potter show

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has backed the casting of Noma Dumezweni in her new stage play after a number of fans questioned the decision to hire a black actress for the role of Hermione Granger.

The cast for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a West End stage play set 19 years after the events in Rowling's books, was announced on Monday (21Dec15), and a number of fans took issue with Dumezweni being cast as Hermione, who was played by Emma Watson in the films.

One Twitter user asked Rowling how she felt about "black Hermione", and the author responded by insisting she never described Hermione's race in the books, tweeting, "Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione."

Matthew Lewis, who played Neville Longbottom in the film franchise, also weighed in on the debate, insisting he did not fit the books' description of Neville but he was cast anyway.

When asked on Twitter what he thought of "a woman of colour being cast as Hermione?" he replied, "And Neville Longbottom was blonde. I really don't care. Good luck to her."

Dumezweni, who born in Africa before relocating to England as a child, will be joined by Jamie Parker as Harry Potter and Paul Thornley as Ron Weasley.

The two-part production will open for previews on 7 June (16) at London's Palace Theatre.

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