J.K. Rowling Defends A Controversial ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald’ Casting Decision

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WARNER BROS.

No, not that casting decision. The other one.

The latest trailer for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the sequel to Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, introduced Claudia Kim as Nagini, a human who can transform into snake; she’s later enlisted, possibly against her will, as Voldemort’s reptile pet and Horcrux. The fact that Nagini is played by a South Korean actress isn’t sitting well with some.

“Not gonna lie, I did raise my eyebrows a little when I saw that Nagini was an Asian woman… I am glad I am not the only one being reminded of the dragon lady/snake lady stereotype,” one Twitter user wrote, while another added that “maybe ‘circus performer who turns into a murderous snake’ isn’t the best choice of role for one of the two [women of color] in the franchise.” (The other is Zoë Kravitz, who plays Leta Lestrange.) One of J.K. Rowling’s followers addressed the Fantastic Beasts screenwriter personally, writing, “Listen Joanne, we get it, you didn’t include enough representation when you wrote the books. But suddenly making Nagini into a Korean woman is garbage. Representation as an afterthought for more woke points is not good representation.”

Rowling responded, “The Naga are snake-like mythical creatures of Indonesian mythology, hence the name ‘Nagini.’ They are sometimes depicted as winged, sometimes as half-human, half-snake. Indonesia comprises a few hundred ethnic groups, including Javanese, Chinese, and Betawi. Have a lovely day.” She also added a snake emoji, confirming that Rowling is a Taylor Swift fan.

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, which still stars Johnny Depp, opens on November 16.

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