News broke on Monday that British actor Noma Dumezweni will play Hermione Granger in the upcoming West End play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. While some Potter fans took to the internet saying Ms. Dumezweni, who is black, does not fit Hermione’s iconic description, the show’s producers say they’re “just glad no one noticed she has sleds for feet.”
Producers say they were prepared for a controversy, just not this one in particular. “We didn’t think this kind of obvious racism was still considered okay to air publicly, but we were pretty sure the sled thing would come up,” says one anonymous producer. Fortunately, fans are too fixated on Ms. Dumezweni’s race to notice that, thanks to a reconstructive foot surgery gone very awry, the actress has sleds where her feet should be. “We knew fans would have something to say about that, since Emma Watson did not have sleds for feet in the film version,” adds the producer. “Although to be fair, I didn’t even notice Ms. Dumezweni’s sled-feet until I tried to hold a conversation with her on a slippery, downward-sloping surface.”
“We definitely expected an uproar at our artistic interpretation of the text,” says director John Tiffany. “But we thought it’d be about Hermione having actual, wooden sleds in place of feet, not about her being a race other than white.” Mr. Tiffany is fine with the race hubbub, so long as it distracts the public from a Hermione Granger with mid-sized, handmade sleds where her feet should be. And surely, talent is talent—as Tiffany puts it, “Just because Ms. Dumezweni is black does not make her any less able to capture Hermione’s irrepressible whimsy and wit, but the sled thing might be a problem. We didn’t realize her feet were sleds until after we cast her, so we’re working around it.”
What happens next for everyone’s favorite magical trio? All will be revealed in London next July.