When we got our very first look at Timothée Chalamet in the fantasy prequel Wonka, lots of people pointed out that this new, younger version of the famous chocolatier bore a striking sartorial resemblance to a certain Muppet. But it’s not just Willy coming for Gonzo’s gig. The movie is also receiving far more serious and valid criticism over the casting of Notting Hill star Hugh Grant as an Oompa Loompa.
Grant’s character was revealed in the final moments of the film’s first trailer, confirming that the Oompa Loompas would be made to appear smaller via CGI editing, rather than by including dwarf actors in the movie. And performers with dwarfism aren’t happy.
Jason Acuña, better known as Wee Man in the long-running Jackass franchise, recently took to TikTok to express his disappointment in both the production, and in Grant specifically for taking the role.
“Hugh Grant is now playing an Oompa Loompa?” he asked. “So I guess, Hugh Grant, you’re now identifying as a little person?”
Acuña is not the only one. George Coppen, who appears in the recent Disney+ series Willow, has shared his concerns with the BBC over actors with dwarfism being “pushed out” of the entertainment business, citing Wonka but also big franchises like Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy, which similarly cast famous actors and digitally altered them to appear smaller.
“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.”
Philip Ellis is News Editor at Men’s Health, covering fitness, pop culture, sex and relationships, and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV, and he is the author of Love & Other Scams.