Paul King defends Hugh Grant's Wonka casting as Oompa-Loompa after criticism

Paul King has explained why Hugh Grant was cast as an Oompa-Loompa in 'Wonka' amid an outcry that the part wasn't given to an actor with dwarfism.



Paul King has sought to justify Hugh Grant's casting in Wonka
Paul King has sought to justify Hugh Grant's casting in Wonka

'Wonka' director Paul King has defended the decision to cast Hugh Grant as an Oompa-Loompa.

The 63-year-old actor portrays the diminutive Lofty in the origin story for Roald Dahl's famous 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' character and the filmmaker felt that the 'Four Weddings and a Funeral' star fitted the part despite criticism that an actor with dwarfism was not cast.

Paul told BBC News: "Dahl describes (the Oompa-Loompas) as no higher than my knee or about the size of a medium size doll.

"We tried to use the iconic look that they came up with in the 1971 movie with the green hair and the orange skin, and merge that with the way Dahl described them, in a way I think they may have done, had they had the technology we have today."

Grant's role was questioned earlier this year by George Coppen, an actor with dwarfism, who felt that the part should have gone to a performer with the condition because of the limited number of roles available to them.

He told the BBC: "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."

Meanwhile, Timothee Chalamet emulates Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp by playing Willy Wonka on the big screen and explained how he wanted to portray the younger chocolate factory proprietor in a different manner to that of his predecessors.

The 27-year-old star said at the film's premiere in London on Tuesday (28.11.23): "This isn't the Willy Wonka with a couple of screws loose, that we see in the Gene Wilder and the other version.

"This is a young, ambitious, hopeful, won't-take-no for an answer, sprightly, light Willy."