Paul King’s upcoming film, Wonka, starring Timothée Chalamet is set to take the audience on a journey of the center character of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The 2023 musical fantasy follows the adventures of young Willy Wonka and how he met Oompa Loompa, portrayed by Hugh Grant. While Chalamet’s casting has received quite a positive response from the audience, it has not been the same for casting Grant as Oompa Loompa.
Grant’s casting in the movie has garnered quite a backlash for the film. However, the movie’s director, Paul King, recently defended the casting as he shared the real reason he offered the part to the award-winning actor Hugh Grant.
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Hugh Grant’s Casting in Wonka Faces Backlash
Paul King‘s upcoming movie serves as a prequel to Mel Stuart’s 1971 movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The trailer and teasers of the movie were released earlier this month, giving a look at Timothee Chalamet as the film’s lead star and also revealing Hugh Grant as Oompa-Loompa.
Following the release of the trailer, many took offense at having the Love Actually star as a green-haired-orange man, as they suggested that the role should have gone to an actor with dwarfism. Actor George Coppen also raised his voice against the casting, saying that “dwarfs should be offered everyday roles in dramas and soaps.”
He also mentioned that the previous two adaptations of the book featured dwarf actors in the role, as he questioned Grant’s casting. He stated that the character has been “played by dwarves but this time round they have decided to take work away from us.”
He also argued against the appearance of the character, saying, “They’ve enlarged his head so his head looks bigger. [I thought,] ‘What the hell have you done to him’?” During a recent interview, the director of the film, Paul King, finally spoke on the backlash and shared the real reason he decided to cast the Notting Hill actor as Oompa Loompa in the upcoming movie.
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Why Did Paul King Cast Hugh Grant as Oompa Loompa?
During the official premiere of the Wonka trailer in London, Pual King opened up about casting Hugh Grant in the upcoming musical fantasy. He shared that to work on the movie he delved into Roald Dahl’s book and took inspiration to share the adventures and story of the world-famous chocolatier.
After reading the book, he realized that although Oompa Loompas were not given much dialogue, their songs were “incredibly sarcastic and judgmental and cruel.” He further stated that the name of The Gentlemen actor came to his mind as he thought about the character.
“So I was really just thinking about that character; somebody who could be a real sh*t, and then — ah! Hugh!” he shared. He also said that Grant is the most “funniest, most sarcastic sh*t [he’s] ever met,” and it was the reason he decided to offer him the role.
Wonka is set to release on 15 December 2023.
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Source: The Hollywood Reporter
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