Hugh Grant Faces Backlash After Being Cast As Oompa Loompa in ‘Wonka’


People are not happy about the casting choice.

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As the silver screen gears up for the release of “Wonka,” coming this December a debate has arisen after High Grant was cast as the Oompa Loompas from the movie.

Wonka,” directed by the visionary Paul King and produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, promises to unveil the mystique behind the enigmatic chocolatier as a magician, inventor, and maestro of confectionery delights. It’s a tantalizing journey into the making of the whimsical world that has captured our hearts for generations.

Credit: Hugh Grant in the new Wonka movie

The controversy centers on the casting choice of none other than British luminary Hugh Grant as an Oompa-Loompa. Some voices within the dwarfism community are crying foul, feeling that this choice is robbing them of coveted opportunities.

George Coppen, a prominent actor with dwarfism, couldn’t help but voice his astonishment on Instagram. His excitement for the “Wonka” trailer took an unexpected turn when Grant appeared in the garb of an Oompa-Loompa.

“So I was watching the new Wonka trailer, and I thought it looked pretty good until the very end where Hugh Grant appears as an Oompa-Loompa. Why?” Coppen questioned.

Credit: Actor George Coppen

In the world of cinematic adaptations, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” has seen two notable incarnations: the 1971 classic and Tim Burton’s 2005 reimagination, both featuring actors with dwarfism as Oompa-Loompas, who are the sidekicks and workers at the chocolate factory.

However, in the tantalizing trailer for “Wonka,” scheduled to hit screens in December, Grant, who towers at more than 5’10,” takes on the role of an impeccably dressed, orange-skinned, green-haired Oompa-Loompa ensnared within a glass jar.

Credit: Grant in the new Wonka movie

When the charismatic Willy Wonka, portrayed by Timothée Chalamet, encounters this peculiar Oompa-Loompa, sparks fly. “So you’re the funny little man who’s been following me,” jests Wonka. Unfazed, the Oompa-Loompa responds with an air of pride and defiance, declaring, “I will have you know that I am a perfectly respectable size for an Oompa-Loompa.”

What ensues is a mesmerizing display of flute-playing and dancing, as he endeavors to jog Wonka’s memory of what an Oompa-Loompa truly embodies.

Credit: Wonka Movie poster

Intriguingly, Warner Bros. Pictures has clarified that Grant’s character is meant to stand at a mere 20 inches tall. But controversy rages on, with Coppen and others voicing their concerns about the casting decision.

Coppen recognizes that roles like these can be seen as demeaning, and he yearns for opportunities to embrace more “normal” roles. Yet, he bemoans the doors seemingly closing for actors with dwarfism, leaving them in a precarious position, unable to seize these opportunities.

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His message is clear: actors with dwarfism should, at the very least, be given the choice to play such roles, even if they harbor reservations. The question that hangs in the balance is whether Hollywood can find a harmonious intersection between creativity and inclusivity, all while preserving the essence of beloved characters.

Disney’s upcoming live-action adaptation of “Snow White” is facing similar criticism for its modernized portrayal of the seven dwarfs as “magical creatures” encompassing various sizes and genders. The film, set to release next year, features Hispanic actress Rachel Zegler as the iconic fairy tale heroine. Recently, set photos from Bedfordshire, England showed a Snow White stand-in accompanied by a diverse group of brightly colored companions, sparking debate about the film’s departure from the 1937 animated classic.

Critics were quick to make their distaste known, saying the new “woke” version was “unbelievable.” 
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Early on, “Game of Thrones” actor Peter Dinklage, who has dwarfism, voiced his criticism of the film’s portrayal of disability. He questioned the decision to cast a Latina actress as Snow White while maintaining the narrative of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” Dinklage expressed frustration with the continued depiction of seven dwarfs living together in a cave, calling it a backward story that reinforces stereotypes.

In response to the backlash, Disney stated that it was taking a “different approach” to avoid perpetuating stereotypes from the original film. The company mentioned consulting with members of the dwarfism community in reimagining the characters. Zegler, known for her role as Maria in Steven Spielberg’s 2021 remake of “West Side Story,” defended the changes, highlighting the need for a refreshing and empowering narrative that goes beyond the traditional “Prince Charming” storyline.

It seems that finding equality in the acting industry is proving to raise some question and is blurring the lines with what it means to be an ‘actor’ and ‘acting’ as a profession.

Watch the trailer for ‘Wonka’ below:

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