MOVIES

Hugh Grant Hated Playing Wonka’s Oompa-Loompa For A Good Reason

Much has already been said of Hugh Grant being cast as a diminutive Oompa-Loompa. Around the time the first “Wonka” trailer was released, George Coppen, an actor with dwarfism, spoke to BBC about how difficult it is for performers like him to get work. He said, “A lot of people, myself included, argue that dwarfs should be offered everyday roles in dramas and soaps, but we aren’t getting offered those roles. One door is being closed, but they have forgotten to open the next one.”

The crux of the argument is that it’s difficult for actors with dwarfism to get any roles. Therefore, when a character is specifically meant to be short, it should ideally go to someone who embodies that instead of an actor using motion capture. Plus, 1971’s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” and 2005’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” used actors with dwarfism to play the Oompa-Loompas, making the upcoming “Wonka” an outlier. 

“Wonka” director Paul King has spoken about casting Hugh Grant in the role, telling The Hollywood Reporter, “I was really just thinking about that character; somebody who could be a real s***, and then — ah! Hugh! Because he’s the funniest, most sarcastic s*** I’ve ever met.” If King had cast an actor with dwarfism, he could’ve gotten marks for better representation, and Grant could’ve avoided his motion capture suit. It would’ve been a win-win for everyone.

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