Ismael Cruz Cordova, who plays the elf Arondir in Rings of Power, has been speaking about the racism he and other cast-members were subjected to when the first character posters and other images were released. He says that he was prepared for it, but that it still took its toll.
Some high-profile members of the cast of the Lord of the Rings prequel include Sophia Nomvete as dwarf princess Disa, Nazanin Boniadi as Arondir’s human love-interest Bronwyn, and veteran British actor and comedian Lenny Henry as the leader of the Harfoots, Sadoc Burrows. This is in contrast to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, which had an overwhelmingly white cast.
Cordova told The Hollywood Reporter that the racism; “galvanizes you. It moves you. It locates you. It hits a nerve. Yes, I definitely expected it. I had these conversations way in advance. It was a driving force to fight for this role so strongly because I knew that it was a necessary thing to do and something that I wanted to lead in the end. So it’s not surprising. There is an element of surprise, though.”
Cordova continued; “I even experienced it with Miss Bala (2019). There was a lot of pushback that I didn’t look Latino enough by being an Afro-Latino. There is an issue of anti-Blackness in the Latino community as well. I also experienced it with Mary Queen of Scots (2018), playing David Rizzio. So I’ve had my bouts with it [as an actor], and since I also live in this world, I’ve experienced it myself.”
“But the scope of the show [Rings of Power] and the volume with which I’ve received that [treatment] has definitely had a surprising element that’s very revealing as to what the state of the world is. So I must admit that it takes a toll on me. There’s no denying that. At the same time, I just have to dust myself off, gather myself and try to just continue leading the change in any little way that I can.”
Several cast-members from Peter Jackson’s trilogy such as Elijah Wood, Billy Boyd, and Dominic Monaghan has been out-spoken in their support of the Rings of Power cast, saying “you are all welcome here.”