Sir Michael Gambon Responds to “Cursed Child” Casting Debate
Speaking this week at the Oxford Students’ Union, Sir Michael Gambon (Albus Dumbledore) responded to the recent online debate surrounding the casting of Noma Dumezweni as Hermione in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. While the reaction has been mostly positive from fans, there has been some criticism, causing J.K. Rowling and many of the actors from the film series to speak up.
When asked about the controversy surrounding the casting, Gambon, who has appeared in countless stage shows over his career, stated that
It doesn’t matter what colour you are, does it? It doesn’t make a difference if you’re a black actress or a white actress. You’d forget it in five minutes, wouldn’t you? When the tabs go up on a play, and the person who’s in it starts talking, you soon forget about it. It doesn’t matter what colour they are, for God’s sake.
Gambon has previously been outspoken about taking the role as Dumbledore in Harry Potter. But what did Gambon make of learning that Dumbledore was gay (Rowling famously outed Dumbledore at Carnegie Hall in 2007)? Gambon speculated that
I think they made it up as they went along. She [J.K. Rowling] told me one day that Dumbledore was gay. She’d just decided that day. We’d been on for about three years.
He told students how he used this news in his performance.
I started doing this on the set,” he grinned, playing with his hair and fluttering his eyelashes. “The director came running over to me and asked me what I was doing. I said that the women who wrote this play told me I was gay. He didn’t believe me, but she was there, and he went and asked her about it. I didn’t play ‘gay’, I just played who I am.
Always plain speaking, Gambon went to say that he was determined to make the character of Dumbledore his own when he took the role on.
They rang me up, and I jumped at it. I didn’t have to think at all. I turned up at the studio and did it – that’s all. In my first entrance as Dumbledore I had to walk up some stairs, and I ran up them. The director said you can’t run up them, and I said I want to run up them. And that was that.
But he also paid tribute to J.K. Rowling and her work, saying,
I think she’s brilliant. The stuff she writes is really clever.
Besides as the Potter series, Gambon has also appeared in the TV adaptation of The Casual Vacancy, also by J.K. Rowling.
You can read more opinions on Cursed Child casting here, here, here, here, here, and here. Previews for Cursed Child are now well underway at the Palace Theater, London. Make sure to read MuggleNet’s spoiler-free reviews for Part 1 and Part 2 if you’re interested in knowing what we thought of the first preview!
Do you agree with what Gambon said? Let us know in the comments!