Fantastic Beasts 2 actress Claudia Kim has responded to accusations of racism levelled at the casting of her character Nagini.
Kim plays Nagini in human form, years before she eventually became Lord Voldemort’s snake and an all-important Horcrux.
After a teaser trailer was released, fans suggested that it’s problematic to cast an Asian actress in the role of a cursed woman who eventually becomes Voldemort’s slave.
Speaking at a theatre in Seoul (via Allkpop), Kim said the criticisms were “unexpected.”
“When I found out that I’m playing Nagini, I thought it was meaningful because it’s an important character in the Harry Potter series. Harry Potter is a franchise film with many caucasian actors, so I thought many Korean viewers would be happy,” she added.
Kim hopes that fans will have a different perspective once they see the movie, adding that she believes casting an Asian actress to play Nagini was the right thing to do.
“I’m looking forward to viewers being satisfied and the controversy fading away once the film premieres,” she said.
“I don’t perceive such controversy solely in a negative way. I believe changes can be made by giving attention to an Asian’s promotions and through the people that look into such issues.
Last month, J.K. Rowling also responded to some of the online criticism. Jen Moulton – a linguist and author – tweeted Rowling directly to accuse her of her of not including “enough representation” when writing the books.
“But suddenly making Nagini into a Korean woman is garbage,” she added. “Representation as an afterthought for more woke points is not good representation.”
Rowling then responded with: “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.”