Harry Potter (2001-2011)
Plot: Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.(IMDB)
Studio: Warner Bros.
Box Office: $2.4 billion (domestic gross over 8 films)
1. Are there two or more named People of Color? Yes
2. Do they talk to each other? Yes
3. About something other than White people? No; In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Parvati and Padma Patil have an exchange during the Yule Ball but it is to complain about their dates- Ron and Harry- who are both white males. During the Battle of Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Dean Thomas and Kingsley talk strategy but it is in regards to Professor McGonagall.
4. Asian Bonus: Is there an Asian character? Yes
Commentary: With recurring characters and a continuing story, I wanted to explore Harry Potter as a complete franchise. The films are adapted from the books and while both do include characters from diverse backgrounds, with named characters speakings, on screen some of the adaptation choices come up short. In the fourth film (Goblet of Fire), the Patil twins and Cho Chang are described to be wearing richly colored robes, according to text from the book. The film decided that these characters should be dressed in clothing which leans towards a more ethnic look (embroidered silk and plain chaniya cholis) for no apparent reason. In the last book, Dean Thomas is a part of the group held hostage at Malfoy Manor. His presence is not of any particular significance but he is still cut from those scenes in the film and only brought back at the end fight. Oftentimes in film franchises, characters are recast when their role goes from background to speaking. Such was the case with Lavender Brown. In movies two and three she was cast as two different black actresses. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, her role expanded as she became Ron’s love interest and the role went to Jessie Cave for the final three films. The books made no mention of Lavender Brown’s race but for the role to be recast from a black actress to a white actress once the character grew in significance seems like an unfortunate move in casting. They succeeded in interracial coupling (Dean and Ginny) throughout the other films but changing race more than halfway through the series raises questions. It seems if the reverse were to happen a much bigger deal would have been made about the changes.
For more on fan opinions: http://www.projectcasting.com/news/harry-potters-history-of-recasting-characters-races
Blogger: Ruchi Fruitwala