While we at the Riot are taking this lovely summer week off to rest (translation: read by the pool/ocean/on our couches), we’re re-running some of our favorite posts from the last several months. Enjoy our highlight reel, and we’ll be back with new stuff on Wednesday, July 8th.
This post originally ran June 5, 2015.
“Eddie Redmayne has been cast as Newt Scamander!” The Internet shouted from the rooftops a few days ago.
And an entire faction of Tumblr let out a heavy sigh of disappointment.
Nothing against Eddie, of course. (Eddie, like we’re friends.) He’s a fantastic actor, with lots of great films under his belt.
Then reports started coming in of actresses and actors up for the other roles. Hypable reported on other characters,
Tina: Described as “grounded.” Testing for this role are Saoirse Ronan (pictured above center), Dakota Fanning (above right), Allison Sudol, and Lili Simmons.
Queenie: Tina’s older sister and described as a “bombshell.” Testing for this role are Kate Upton (above left), Katherine Waterston and Elizabeth Debicki
Jacob: Described as Newt’s “rival,” testing for this role are Steve Zisis, Zack Pearlman and Dan Fogler.
They think (and I agree) it’s possible that “Tina” could be Porpentina Scamander, Newt’s wife.
So, these people are testing for roles in the movie. And what we have here is a sea of blinding-white. Melanin-challenged.
Again, nothing wrong with any of these actors and actresses. I’m sure they are all wonderfully talented.
But how amazing would it have been to have a major franchise have a film with a lead actor of color? I’m a giant Harry Potter nerd, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciated that J.K. Rowling wrote characters of every sort into her series… but now I want more. I want more than just a peripheral Indian kid, and I want more than a black best friend. I WANT MORE.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is going to take place in 1920s New York. (You know what else takes place in 1920s New York? The Harlem Renaissance. Just saying.)
Newt Scamander is from England, born (according to the HP Wiki) in 1897. He had black hair. His grandson was described by Rita Skeeter as, “swarthy.” You know what else was happening in England in the late 1800s / early 1900s? A LOT of colonization! Which means, lots of colonial immigrants were coming in and out of the country. You know who lived in England in the late 1800s? Gandhi.
Now, I’m not saying that Newt Scamander is related to Gandhi, obviously. But! … Brown people existed in Europe around the time he was born. Again. Just saying.
So, this is all just a way to say, hey, let’s take a walk down fantasy land and dream-cast this movie full to the brim with people of color.
My personal favorite, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett.
Richard Ayoade, who is maybe a little on the older side, but man, that look is on point, no?
Suraj Sharma would rock that 1920s style.
Fawad Khan, of COURSE. He’d be an excellent Magizoologist.
If her work on Brooklyn 99 is any indication, I think Melissa Fumero can play grounded.
Again, not a ton to go off of, but hey, Chloe Bennett’s pretty kick-ass on SHIELD, so, yes.
Keke Palmer would be a gorgeous addition to this cast!
Priyanka Chopra is the bomb-shelliest bombshell on the planet, okay.
Antonia Thomas ain’t so bad herself, though.
And Diane Guerrero. Yes. Yes, please.
Michael B. Jordan! How great would it be if Newt’s Magizoological rival was steeped in the arts of Harlem Renaissance, but only cared about magizoology?
Ki Hong Lee who I know can play the funny guy and the straight man.
Danny Pudi. He fits the random nerdy, awkward guy the casting directors are apparently going for.
So there are my two cents. What about you? Who do you think would be a great, colorful addition to the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them cast?