An actor with dwarfism has criticised the casting of Hugh Grant as an Oompa Loompa in Wonka.
Directed by Paul King (Paddington), the upcoming film is based on the universe created in Roald Dahl’s 1964 novel Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. Timothée Chalamet plays the lead role of Willy Wonka, in what’s billed as a prequel to the 1971 film adaptation.
George Coppen, who is best known for playing Sweet Cupid in Netflix’s The School For Good And Evil, believes the Oompa Loompa role should have been given to an actor with dwarfism.
Speaking to the BBC, Coppen said: “A lot of actors [with dwarfism] feel like we are being pushed out of the industry we love.
“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.”
Speaking about the depiction of Grant’s Oompa Loompa, as shown in the first trailer, Coppen added: “They’ve enlarged his head so his head looks bigger. [I thought] what the hell have you done to him?”
In both 1971’s Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder, and 2005’s Charlie And The Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp, the Oompa Loompa’s were all played by actors with dwarfism.
NME has reached out to Warner Bros. for comment.
Wonka – which follows a younger version of the titular character – also stars Keegan Michael-Key, Paterson Joseph, Matt Lucas, Mathew Baynton, Sally Hawkins and Rowan Atkinson.
Wonka is scheduled to be released in cinemas on December 15, 2023.