Date: 13th September 2023
Hugh Grant's highly controversial casting as the Oompa Loompas is defended by Wonka director Paul King, who claims Grant was great for the part.
"Wonka" director Paul King worked with Hugh Grant on "Paddington 2", but he knew getting the actor to play an Oompa Loompa in the upcoming Warner Bros. musical would take extra convincing. So King wrote Grant a letter in which he said the actor was great at playing "washed-up old hams", which is exactly what King was looking for in his hunt for the perfect Oompa Loompa actor.
"I was enchanted by the idea of these impossibly tiny beings, far smaller even than the child-sized me," King said. "The voice and the attitude of the Oompa Loompa came from revisiting the books – long songs full of humor, sarcasm, superiority and scorn. So it was really just thinking about that character – someone who can be a real shit. And I went, ‘Ah, Hugh Grant!’ Because he’s the funniest, most sarcastic shit that I’ve ever met!"
"I had to write him this awkward letter, saying, ‘You’re good at playing washed-up, old hams…'" King added. "Once you see Hugh Grant as an 18-inch high orange man with green hair, you go, ‘Ah, yes. I know what Oompa Loompas are. It all makes perfect sense.'"
Wonka is not the only major production to cast actors as characters who could be portrayed as by actros with dwarfism. Disney’s Snow White decided to pivot the name away from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and turn the seven dwarf characters into unspecified magical beings. Disney, like Warner Bros. Discovery did with Wonka, did not cast actors with dwarfism and and instead found a new way to reinterpret the roles.
Source: Press Release