Charlie Bucket and his adventures at Willy Wonka’s magical chocolate factory have been a beloved tale ever since Roald Dahl released his now-iconic children’s novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, back in 1964. For most, becoming part of the franchise is an honor, but one actor in the new addition, an origin story called Wonka, admitted he couldn’t have hated the experience more: Hugh Grant.
The 63-year-old actor, an icon in his own right, played an Oompa Loompa in the Willy Wonka genesis story. The Oopma Loopmas, of course, are the orange-skinned, green-haired, short-statured creatures who run the factory for the eccentric chocolatier.
In a press conference marking the release of Wonka, Hugh Grant gave a scathing review of his experience bringing the curmudgeonly character to life. According to Grant, wearing the camera rig around his head required to create the Oompa Loompa’s unique look was like wearing a “crown of thorns” and “very uncomfortable.”
“I made a big fuss about it,” the actor said, according to Metro. “I couldn’t have hated the whole thing more.” For Hugh Grant, not even the final product assuaged his negative feelings about the film. When asked if the ends justified the means, he replied: “Not really.”
He clarified, however, that his ill-tempered attitude isn’t anything against Wonka, its director, or his costars. Grant has long been open about his boredom with stardom and distaste for the spotlight. “I slightly hate [making films],” he said. “But I have lots of children and need money.”
‘Wonka’ Director Wanted Hugh Grant’s Bad Attitude for His Oompa Loompa
It was Hugh Grant’s exact brand of crabbiness that made director Paul King feel that he was the perfect actor to make his grumpy Oompa Loompa a reality. “The Oompa Loompas don’t have any dialogue in the book, really,” King told Radio Times. “And the films, they’ve sort of got very little. But in the book, they do have these very, very long songs – or they’re presented as songs, they’re poems.”
“But they’re so funny, and I was reading them sort of trying to get a voice in my head, and they’re so sort of biting and sarcastic and scornful and incredibly funny, and Hugh’s voice just kept coming towards me.”
Hopefully Hugh Grant’s performance was everything Paul King envisioned, as it seems unlikely he would sign up for Wonka again, given the opportunity. The actor gave his honest thoughts about his dislike for Wonka‘s partially animated production as well. Grant claimed that he wasn’t sure whether he was supposed to “act with [his] body or not, and never received a satisfactory answer.”
In keeping with tradition, part of the Oompa Loompa’s presence involves dancing. And, well, Hugh Grant wasn’t a fan of that either. The dancing Grant did, he says, was replaced by animation anyway. “It should be fun,” he said of his on-screen moves. “But that was done by the animator. It’s very confusing, with CGI now, you can’t tell what’s going on.”
Wonka hits theaters on December 15. If the full production is anything like the trailer, Hugh Grant stole the show. Despite his negative outlook, donning a “crown of thorns” might have been worth it, after all.
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