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27th Jul 2023

Actor with dwarfism slams new Wonka film for casting Hugh Grant as Oompa Loompa

Steve Hopkins

A new Willy Wonka movie staring Timothée Chalamet in the lead role is being slammed before it even hits the cinemas.

The trailer for Wonka has clocked up 27 million views since being released a fortnight ago, but not everyone is delighted with the new adaption of this iconic story.

As well as featuring Chalamet, in the role made famous by Johnny Depp and Gene Wilder, the movie, due out in December, features Hugh Grant – an an Oompa Loompa.

In the trailer, Grant appears in a glass jar and Chalamet’s Wonka asks whether he’s the “funny little man who’s been following me?”

The short, orange-faced character replies: “I will have you know that I am a perfectly respectful size for an Oompa-Loompa.”

George Coppen, an actor with dwarfish, has hit out at the casting, and the portrayal of the condition in the movie.

He told the BBC that the film should have cast performers like him. “A lot of actors [with dwarfism] feel like we are being pushed out of the industry we love,” 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 Oompa Loompa in the film is only 20 inches tall.

Coppen, who has appeared in projects like Willow, Artemis Fowl and The School for Good and Evil, got into acting when he saw a casting call for actors to play Ewoks in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

The 26-year-old, who is following in the footsteps of his father, Willie Coppen, also hit out at the way Wonka has altered Grant’s body in the movie.

He told the BBC: “They’ve enlarged his head so his head looks bigger. [I thought] what the hell have you done to him.”

In the past film iterations of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Oompa Loompas have been played by actors with dwarfism.

George wants to know what has suddenly changed with this latest one.

Wonka is a prequel and reveals how the iconic chocolate maker came to be.

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