Film , Interviews

'Fantastic Beasts' Star Jessica Williams Just Wants To Give Black Nerds More Characters To Cosplay

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore star Jessica Williams has what may be one of the biggest roles for a black character to date in the Wizarding World franchise.

She first originated the role of Professor Eulalie “Lally’ Hicks in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, but has a much more expanded role with the third film in the franchise.

“I grew up just as Black Nerd and reading these books, and I’m just trying to give Black people more stuff to cosplay,” she told Shadow and Act in a recent interview. “Every single time that we have a little bit more of a thing, it’s like, ‘Can I be Seraphina Picquery?’ Yes, I could do that! And now, we have Professor Eulalie Hicks. I feel like I made this movie for young me because I was so obsessed with the books and with the Wizarding World in general. So, it really is a dream come true. And a lot of times on set, I had to kind of pinch myself because I was freaking out. I mean, my wand is based on like an African mermaid because Lally is descended from African mermaids. So the handle is this beautiful, sort of statuesque African mermaid. Just to know that might be something collectible like on Noble Collection…just the idea that that can even exist…the young girl or the smaller version of me would have just absolutely loved that. So I’m really excited about Lally and I’m excited about her world and I’m excited about being able to portray her in this franchise. It’s really just a dream.”

Williams also spoke about having the film finally come out after delays associated with the pandemic.

“It’s really surreal because we finished this movie a year ago,” she explained. “I didn’t realize until I saw the movie last month that I had no idea what the movie looks like, considering a lot of times, I would do magic and imagine all the books flying in the air. And then I’m just trying not to look kind of like an idiot watching these books [laughs]. So, there was actually 20% of me that was worried that it had been so long since we wrapped the movie that I would look back at my acting at seeing magic and be like, ‘Wow, I look like a butthead.’ And I’m really happy that I didn’t! I think I think my reactions were great. And I’m really happy with how the movie turned out.”

Watch the full interview below in which she talks about the film and the reactions to Love Life season 2 and its “delicious Black characters.”

Shadow and Act is a website dedicated to cinema, television and web content of Africa and its global Diaspora. With daily news, interviews, in-depth investigations into the audiovisual industry, and more, Shadow and Act promotes content created by and about people of African descent throughout the world.

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