Hugh Grant was cast in ‘Wonka’ because he is the ‘funniest, most sarcastic s**t’ director Paul King has ever met.
The 62-year-old actor portrays a tiny green-haired Oompa Loompa in the upcoming movie, which tells the story as to how Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s Willy Wonka became a confectionary magnate.
Filmmaker King admitted that Roald Dahl’s original novels – which also included sequel… didn’t have much dialogue about the diminutive workers, but their songs were ‘incredibly sarcastic and judgemental and cruel’.
This naturally led him to feel that his Paddington 2 star was perfect for the job.
Speaking at the premiere of the trailer in London, King quipped: ‘So I was really just thinking about that character; somebody who could be a real s**t, and then — ah! Hugh!
‘Because he’s the funniest, most sarcastic s**t I’ve ever met.’
Grant previously dazzled audiences in his turn as vain failed actor and villain Phoenix Buchanan in the Paddington sequel, which was written and directed by King?
He was nominated for a Bafta for best supporting actor in the role and has also appeared in other comedic and irreverent parts in separate recent movies including Dungeons & Dragons: Honour Among Thieves and a fun cameo in Glass Onion, the Knives Out sequel.
When the trailer dropped on Tuesday night, it was very much Grant’s turn as an Oompa Loompa – only glimpsed right at the end – that really captured fans’ attention.
‘Roles I never thought I’d see Hugh Grant playing. The man’s career path has become fascinating recently,’ observed one fan, while another added: ‘Hugh Grant’s silly little guy phase continues to deliver.’
Co-star Timothée Chalamet even got in on the action (and adoration), tweeting in all-caps: ‘HUGHMPA LOOMPA DOOPATY GRANT.’
Chalamet plays the title role in the film and King hailed the Call Me By Your Name star as the ‘most incredible actor of his generation’.
‘It was a very short list of people who could play Willy Wonka, and really, it was him,’ the 44-year-old revealed at the event, as per The Hollywood Reporter.
‘I really do think he’s the most incredible actor of his generation, because he’s got this incredible ability to dive very deep into his own personal emotions and convey things with the turn of an eye — he’s very, very controlled, very smart and incredibly emotionally intuitive.’
Noting that the 27-year-old actor has ‘some extraordinarily big shoes’ to fill with the role, the director is confident Chalamet can ‘more than live up to’ the previous versions of Wonka played by Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp.
He added: ‘I think he manages to bring that sort of mayhem and mischievousness but with a deep emotional grounding, which is really quite extraordinary.’
Wonka is set for release in UK cinemas on December 15, 2023.
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