‘Fantastic Beasts 2’ Nagini Actor Claudia Kim Addresses Casting Criticism

Claudia Kim - Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald

Kim Soo-hyun (Claudia Kim) has responded to the casting criticism of her character in Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald, admitting she was surprised by the public’s reaction.

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When the final trailer for the sequel film landed on the internet, fans immediately learnt of one very unexpected plot point – Nagini, the seventh and final Horcrux, is not just a snake, but originally a woman.

As J.K. Rowling explained, Kim’s character is actually a Maledictus. Maledictus is a female individual who carries a blood curse – one that turns its carrier into a beast. The curse is carried down from mother to daughter.

Since the cast of Fantastic Beasts is mostly white actors, fans questioned why the film would cast a coloured woman in the role of an animal as Voldermort’s loyal servant, pet, killer, and Horcrux.

Earlier this week, Kim was asked about the criticism during an interview in Seoul. 

According to Korean pop outlet Allkpop, Kim said the reaction was “unexpected”. 

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. ‘Harry Potter’ is a franchise film with many Caucasian actors, so I thought many Korean viewers would be happy.

“I’m looking forward to viewers being satisfied and the controversy fading away once the film premieres. I don’t perceive such controversy solely in a negative way. I believe changes can be made by giving attention to an Asian’s promotion (like this) and through the people that look into such issues.”

Kim also said that she believes Nagini should be played by an Asian character.

“Scriptwriter J.K. Rowling probably searched for an Asian actress because she researched the origin of Nagini. I’m not sure if it’s just my pride, but I think I was able to bring out a different vibe as a Korean in Hollywood where there are many Korean Americans.”

You can read Kim’s full response, HERE

In a tweet responding to the casting backlash, Rowling briefly explained the origins of Nagini:

“The Naga are snake-like mythical creatures of Indonesian mythology, hence the name ‘Nagini.’ They are sometimes depicted as winged, sometimes as half-human, half-snake. Indonesia comprises a few hundred ethnic groups, including Javanese, Chinese and Betawi.”

Fantastic Beasts: Crimes of Grindelwald is in cinemas November 16.