Due to Brontë's description of Heathcliff as a "dark-skinned gypsy in aspect" and "a little Lascar ", Arnold searched for an actor from the UK's Romani community. However, the community had some doubts.  The search was then expanded to Yorkshire actors aged 16 to 21 of mixed race, Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Middle Eastern descent.  In November, it was reported that James Howson had been cast as Heathcliff, the first time a black actor would portray the role.    Lucy Pardee was in charge of casting the children in the film (Gail Stevens cast the adults  ). Pardee auditioned private school children with no history of acting.