Wonka director on casting Hugh Grant as an Oompa Loompa

Wonka director on casting Hugh Grant as an Oompa Loompa

Wonka director Paul King says that casting Hugh Grant as an Oompa Loompa in the movie was a real light bulb moment.

Hugh Grant as an Oompa Loompa; it’s either the greatest thing in the world or pure nightmare fuel, depending on who you ask. Personally, I kind of loved it. The recently released Wonka trailer concluded with Hugh Grant in all his Oompa Loompa glory, and it’s something director Paul King knew he needed to see.

After working with Hugh Grant on Paddington 2, Paul King told Empire that knew he wanted to bring the actor back for Wonka after he re-read Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. “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 said. “It was a real light bulb moment – you go, ‘Hugh Grant’s an Oompa-Loompa! Yes please! Merry Christmas, with a bow on it.’

Paul King decided to keep the look of the Oompa Loompa’s seen in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory rather than redesign the characters. “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,” King 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.” Paul King and his team have been working on getting the Hugh Grant Oompa Loompa looking as great as he can. “Because it’s CG, it looks terrible until it looks good,” King said. “And then you go, ‘Ah, perfect!’ It’s a miracle.’

Wonka stars Timothée Chalamet in the title role and will tell “the wondrous story of how the world’s greatest inventor, magician and chocolate-maker became the beloved Willy Wonka we know today.” In addition to Chalamet, Wonka also stars Calah Lane, Keegan-Michael Key, Paterson Joseph, Matt Lucas, Mathew Baynton, Sally Hawkins, Rowan Atkinson, Jim Carter, Olivia Colman, and more. Wonka will hit theaters on December 15th.

What did you think of Hugh Grant as an Oompa Loompa in the Wonka trailer?