Fantastic Beasts: Is the Industry Fighting for more Diverse Castings?

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A question worth exploring on this topic is whether the casting for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald would be as great an issue or have received as much attention had the core cast been more diverse? The core cast, similar to the original Harry Potter film franchise is predominantly white Caucasian, and although the franchise’s stage production, The Cursed Child, casted Olivier Award-winning actress Noma Dumezweni as their first black Hermione, could more not be done to offer minorities’ representation through well established and well-rounded roles on screen?

A large issue in the film and television industry is the lack of three-dimensional characters for ethnic minorities. Looking back through the history of film, many of the roles available have been limited in scope and depth. Often the roles played by BME actors are stereotypical or subservient: sometimes the Asian best friend who’s great at maths, or the household help, an issue which actress Jameela Jamil spoke about in interviews recently.

Looking at the Handmaid’s Tale franchise for instance – with one of the most diverse core casts on screen at the moment, both in terms of race and sexuality – when more BME groups are represented on screen, the art becomes more accessible to a wider group of people. BME viewers who don’t feel that they fully relate to the main characters usually shown on screen can then become more included and inspired in the art. Brooklyn 99 is another show which doesn’t shy away from challenging problematic stereotypical roles and the inadequate amount of BME actors on screen. Stephanie Beatriz, who plays police detective Rosa Diaz, has spoken out about how she expected not to be cast in the show once she found out Melissa Fumero, also a Latino actress, had been cast as another lead.

Therefore, the casting of minorities in two-dimensional, subservient roles will continue to be problematic and controversial until opportunities for minority representation on screen widen in all aspects of the industry.

 

Antonia Stephenson

 

Image: Warner Bros. Pictures YouTube