The Korean actress playing Nagini in the upcoming “Fantastic Beasts” movie responded to the backlash regarding her casting, calling the controversy “unexpected.”
Several Asian and Asian-American social media users said it was problematic to cast actress Claudia Kim as Nagini, who carries a blood curse that dooms her to transform into a serpent creature and eventually becomes a trusted servant of Voldemort. They pointed out that Asian actresses have traditionally been relegated to playing either hypersexualized and subservient characters, or deceitful, sly dragon ladies.
But Kim said she found her casting “meaningful.”
“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,” she said late last month during an interview at a theater in Seoul, according to Allkpop. “Harry Potter is a franchise film with many Caucasian actors, so I thought many Korean viewers would be happy.”
“Nagini should be played by an Asian,” she added. “Scriptwriter J.K. Rowling probably searched for an Asian actress because she researched the origin of Nagini.”
Rowling defended Kim’s casting in September, saying that Naga, the mythical creature Nagini is based on, has its origins in Indonesia. But the author failed to acknowledge that Kim is of Korean descent. What’s more, Naga’s roots can actually be traced back to Hindu and Buddhist mythology. In Hinduism, the female “naginis” are said to be breathtaking serpent princesses; in Buddhism, nagas are considered demigods that possess magical powers and wealth.
Although she was surprised by the controversy, Kim said she’s open to hearing the criticism.
“I don’t perceive such controversy solely in a negative way,” she said. “I believe changes can be made by giving attention to an Asian’s promotions [like this] and through the people that look into such issues.”
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more informationTrack ballot status
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place