Grant plays an 18-inch tall Oompa Loompa in the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory prequel, which arrived in cinemas yesterday (December 8).
“Paul, quite early on in the editing process, sent me a mock-up of the Oompa Loompa stark naked. And my little children were a little alarmed at that,” Grant told People. When asked why King had sent the image, he added that it was “to amuse him”.
King explained to the outlet that the time, the film’s effects team were still figuring out “the colour of the skin and the way the hair works and on all the kind of details of it,” and, in that stage of animation, the Oompa Loompa “had no clothes” yet
“It was one of the most disturbing things I’ve ever seen in my life,” King said “If it ever leaks out, a generation of children will be scarred.
He clarified that the figure “was very delicately pixelated. There was nothing untoward. It’s just something once you’ve seen, you can’t unsee it.”
Grant, who previously worked with King on Paddington 2 where he played villain Phoenix Buchanan, went on to say that he signed on to play an Oompa Loompa because he’s “into my freak phase of my career, sort of circus freaks” with characters who are “weirder and weirder.”
“I think he has a very pleasing lack of vanity,” added King. “He’s very happy to look as ridiculous as I ask him to — I got him in a dog suit eating dog food in Paddington 2. So I think once he’d done that, he’d already hit bottom,” he jokes. “This was coming back up in the dignity state.”
Despite this, Grant has also said that he “couldn’t have hated” playing an Oompa Loompa more because the motion capture technology used meant he had to have a lot of cameras on his face at all times.
“It was like a crown of thorns,” he said at a press conference. “I made a big fuss about it, I couldn’t have hated the whole thing more.”
The Jackass star’s comments come after actor and comedian George Coppen, who also has dwarfism, spoke against the casting in an interview with the BBC last month.
Coppen, who is best known for playing Sweet Cupid in Netflix’s The School For Good And Evil, said: “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.”
In both 1971’s Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder, and 2005’s Charlie And The Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp, the Oompa Loompas were all played by actors with dwarfism.
In a four-star review of the film, NME wrote: “When Wonka is billed in its pre-title credits as a “Paul King confection”, it’s more than just tasty wordplay. King, director of the ridiculously charming Paddington films, has crafted an origin story for Roald Dahl’s eccentric chocolatier that’s as sweet, bright and glossy as a box of premium macarons.”
“It’s impossible to imagine Wonka being released at any other time of year; in the weeks leading up to Christmas, we’re all a little more partial to sugar than usual.”
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