Wonka I barely had time to do promotions after the industry-wide double strikes ended. But that didn’t stop the film from impressing critics or winning gracefully at the box office. Or stopped people from wondering who the green-haired Oompa Loompa is in the movie.
Besides early teasers and the official trailer sparking further controversy over who the first Oompa Loompa was, the SAG-AFTRA strike helped ensure that subsequent interviews to promote the film could not lead to dislike for the casting. So, if you are also one of those who forgot who got the role in Paul King’s film, spoilers ahead for Wonka which is finally in theaters.
In past adaptations of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the little humans who worked tirelessly at Wonka’s factory in exchange for cocoa beans were played by dwarf actors – actors like George Claydon, Rusty Goffe, etc. in the 1971 version and Deep Roy (who played all the Oompa Loompas) in 2005. Charlie and the chocolate factory.
But when the remake Wonka hit the ground running, while the reveal of Timothée Chalamet playing the lead role was met with enthusiasm, with the trailer showcasing a pint-sized digital film. Hugh Grant As Lofty, the Oompa Loompa drew the justifiable ire of actor George Coppen, who pointed out that at least such roles should be given to actors with dwarfism, as Hollywood is largely reluctant to cast them daily roles.
As for Grant, he admitted – although it is difficult here to assess the sincerity or hidden humor of his remarks – that he “hated” playing Lofty in Wonka. In a conversation with Metrothe actor explained that the special effects process administered to his character made him make “a big fuss”.
“It was like a crown of thorns, very uncomfortable. I made a big deal out of it. I couldn’t have hated all of this more…and frankly, what I did with my body was terrible, and it was all replaced by an animator.
Now, whether Grant loved or hated playing Wonka’s orange-skinned, green-haired enemy-turned-ally, his original choice to play the role only added to the film’s campy tone. He enters the plot intending to take revenge on Wonka for letting him drown in debt for his own gain, but soon becomes her greatest supporter and friend as he helps her defeat those who plot the downfall of the aspiring chocolatier.
Wonka is now in theaters.