Last month, the South Korean actor was confirmed to appear in the fantasy sequel as the human version of Lord Voldemort’s faithful serpent, Nagini.
While the Harry Potter series has previously been criticised for its lack of diverse roles, many weren’t happy with the decision to cast Kim as a character who goes on to become a slave to the franchise’s chief villain.
Kim has weighed in on the controversy, stating the backlash 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,” she told an audience in theatre in Seoul, according to Allkpop. “[It’s] a franchise film with many Caucasian actors, so I thought many Korean viewers would be happy.”
Kim added that she believes the controversy will “fade away” once the film premieres.
“I think Nagini should’ve been played by an Asian,” she said. “Scriptwriter JK 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.”
In the wake of the outcry, JK Rowling defended the decision, responding to her critics on Twitter.
This isn’t the first time Fantastic Beasts 2 has faced controversy. Earlier this year, many criticised the film’s inclusion of Johnny Depp despite domestic violence accusations made against him. Fans hit out against director David Yates’ comments that Jude Law’s young Dumbledore will not be “explicitly gay” in the film.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald will be released in cinemas on 16 November.