In recent news, Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling has been criticized for casting Black actress Noma Dumezweni as Hermione in the upcoming rendition of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Hermione's character has previously been portrayed by Emma Watson on screen.
Rowling, shocked by the Internet's reaction to the change, simply explained that Dumezweni was the best actress for the job.
The controversy inspired us to think of other instances where the race of a character was not essential to the role, and actors who were cast regardless of their background.
1. TK Times Race Was Irrelevant On Screen: Amandla Stenberg
In 2012, the young Amandla Stenberg starred as Rue in The Hunger Games, immediately sparking a conversation on race. Fans, sadly, responded with confusion when they saw that the character was Black, despite the author never clarifying in the book. Stenberg's reaction and portrayal, however, proved that the character's race was not an important factor in the film.
2. TK Times Race Was Irrelevant On Screen: Michael B. Jordan
Just last year, actor Michael B. Jordan broke barriers when he starred as Johnny Storm in the newest Fantastic Four film. The role was originally played by Chris Evans, so many fans were surprised to see a Black actor cast. In response, Jordan penned an essay asking Hollywood to think more openly about casting people of color.
3. TK Times Race Was Irrelevant On Screen: Catwoman
Halle Berry played Catwoman in 2004, proving why the original character wasn't given a definitive race.
4. TK Times Race Was Irrelevant On Screen: Elektra
Jennifer Garner took on the role of comic book character Elektra in 2005, a Greek-born female superhero.
5. TK Times Race Was Irrelevant On Screen: Avatar
Zoe Saldana's role in Avatar was one of the reasons the film became a record-breaking hit, despite the Dominican actress portraying a somewhat unknown race.