Tom Holland’s Shakespeare Play Casting Black Actress Upsets Ra:ci:sts, Shakespeare has nothing more to say

Casting choice for Tom Holland’s Shakespeare play sparks debate on race and representation.

Tom Holland’s new project has sparked widespread social media discussion after The Jamie Lloyd Company announced its cast. The 27-year-old English actor is set to take on the role of Romeo alongside Francesca Amewudah-Rivers, who will be portraying Juliet in Jamie Lloyd’s West End revival of Romeo & Juliet.

Tom Holland

Tom Holland in The Crowded Room
However, the decision to cast one of the lead characters in a role with a different racial background has ignited controversy, with some expressing concerns that the production team is trying to rewrite historical accuracy within a fictional narrative. The outcry even prompted the director to issue a statement addressing the matter.

Controversy Surrounds Tom Holland’s Latest Project Due to Casting Choices
Last month, The Jamie Lloyd Company announced the cast for the revival of Shakespeare’s timeless classic Romeo & Juliet. It included Tom Holland and Francesca Amewudah-Rivers in the leading roles alongside an ensemble cast.

Francesca Amewudah-Rivers (Image via Instagram | franarivers)

Francesca Amewudah-Rivers (Image via Instagram | franarivers)
While Holland is known for his work in Hollywood, Amewudah-Rivers has previously appeared in two seasons of the BBC series Bad Education and three short films. Both Tom Holland and Amewudah-Rivers expressed their excitement to work together on the play.

However, the casting did not sit well with many, who took to social media to share their perspective on the new play. Comparing the cast of the 1996 film adaptation Romeo + Juliet and the upcoming play, one Twitter user said, “They are rewriting history in front of our very eyes.”

However, people were quick to address the racist remark as they pointed out that “Romeo and Juliet isn’t history.” Others also argued the same, noting that Romeo & Juliet is actually a work of fiction that has been adapted numerous times. The ensuing backlash prompted the producer to issue a statement addressing the situation.

Romeo & Juliet Producer Speaks Out Against Racial Abuse
Following the racial backlash against the cast of Romeo & Juliet, The Jamie Lloyd Company issued a strong statement condemning online harassment. The statement notes that since the cast announcement for Romeo & Juliet, “there has been a barrage of deplorable racial abuse online directed towards a member of our company.”

Tom Holland as Nathan Drake in a still from Uncharted

Tom Holland is set to take on the role of Romeo
They emphasized the importance of supporting artists and creating a safe environment for creativity, stating that any form of abuse will not be tolerated and will be reported. “This must stop,” the statement further stated.

“Any abuse will not be tolerated and will be reported. Bullying and harassment have no place online, in our industry or in our wider communities. Our rehearsal room is full of joy, compassion and kindness. We celebrate the extraordinary talent of our incredible collaborators.”

Romeo & Juliet (Image via Instagram | romeojulietldn)

Romeo & Juliet (Image via Instagram | romeojulietldn)
It also states a strong stance against bullying and harassement in any form and at any place. The statement concluded with a note, saying that the “Romeo & Juliet community” will continue rehearsals with generosity and love, focusing on the production’s creation.

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