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Home > Entertainment News > Hollywood News > Article > Paul King Hugh Grant casting was key to adapting Oompa Loompa in Wonka

Paul King: Hugh Grant casting was key to adapting Oompa Loompa in 'Wonka'

Updated on: 15 July,2023 10:58 AM IST  |  Los Angeles
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King also said that he had to disregard most of the design choices made by Tim Burton in his 2005 adaptation, 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'

Paul King: Hugh Grant casting was key to adapting Oompa Loompa in 'Wonka'

Hugh Grant. Pic/AFP

Director Paul King has explained how casting Hugh Grant as the iconic miniature creature of the Oompa Loompa in 'Wonka' was the key to his adaptation of the classic Roald Dahl character.


"Going back to the book, and reading all those poems, and hearing (the Oompa Loompas') voice as a very sort of cynical, sarcastic, cruel, funny, but wicked voice, I went, 'Oh... That's sort of a bit like Hugh!'," King told Empire magazine ahead of the trailer launch.


"It was a real light bulb moment - you go, 'Hugh Grant's an Oompa-Loompa! Yes please! Merry Christmas, with a bow on it'," as per 'Variety'.


The official trailer for Warner Bros' 'Wonka' on Tuesday gave moviegoers a first look at Timothee Chalamet as the singing and dancing chocolatier, played in previous versions by Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp.

It also dropped a surprise at the very end: Hugh Grant sporting green hair and orange skin as an Oompa Loompa. Paul King, who previously cast Grant as the villainous Phoenix Buchanan in 'Paddington 2', said the 1971 film version of the story, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, was the primary design inspiration behind Grant's Oompa Loompa.

"It just felt like that's what an Oompa Loompa was, in my head. I suppose because the '71 movie is so beloved by me, as well as other people, I didn't really want to reinvent the wheel on that," he said.

"I felt like doing something that sat with that iconography. I love 'Pure Imagination', I love the Oompa Loompa songs, I loved how the Oompa Loompas looked. And that felt like the iconic look of Oompa Loompas."

King also said that he had to disregard most of the design choices made by Tim Burton in his 2005 adaptation, 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'.

"I couldn't do what Tim Burton does at all - because he's a genius - but I could never have taken that and remade it in the way he did," King said.

"And I'm not sure I would want to, because I liked (the original) so much."

"I'm so glad we managed to keep it vaguely secret," King added.

"He looks terrific, but because it's CG, it looks terrible until it looks good. And then you go, 'Ah, perfect!' It's a miracle."

Grant, 62, was nominated for a Bafta for best supporting actor for 'Paddington 2', and has also appeared in other comedic parts in recent movies including 'Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves' and a fun cameo in 'Glass Onion', the 'Knives Out' sequel.

'Wonka' opens in theatres December 15.

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