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Hugh Grant ‘Hated’ Playing an Oompa Loompa in ‘Wonka’ — But He ‘Needs the Money’ 

Hugh Grant Hates Making Movies But Needs the Money
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

Hugh Grant isn’t thrilled with the world of imagination — especially when he’s portraying a tiny curmudgeonly orange man.

Grant, 63, appears as an Oompa Loompa in the new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory prequel, Wonka, which hits theaters later this month. Despite the fantastical world in which it takes place, the actor told reporters during a recent press conference that filming the movie was a “drivel” due to director Paul King’s use of motion capture to portray his pint-sized body.

“It was like a crown of thorns, very uncomfortable,” Grant explained of the camera rig he wore around his head, per Metro. “I made a big fuss about it. I couldn’t have hated the whole thing more.”

Grant noted that he was unsure if he should “act with my body or not” while filming his scenes but “never received a satisfactory answer.”

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“And frankly, what I did with my body was terrible, and it’s all been replaced with an animator,” he continued, noting that his character’s dancing scenes in the film “should” have been a fun experience, but “that was done by the animator.’

When asked whether  Wonka’s final product was “worth” all the sacrifices he made as an Oompa Loompa, Grant replied, “Not really,” causing his fellow castmates to break out into laughter.

Grant later clarified it was nothing against Wonka and King in particular. “I slightly hate [making films] but I have lots of children and need money,” he quipped. Grant is a father of five children: he shares daughter Tabitha, 12, and son John, 11, with ex-wife Tinglan Hong and son Felix, 9, a daughter, 6, and a fifth child born in 2018 with wife Anna Eberstein.

The actor also takes issue with the use of CGI within the entertainment industry in general.

“It’s very confusing. With CGI now, you can’t tell what’s going on,” he said, sharing that during his previous collaboration with King on 2018’s Paddington 2, he asked, “Is that a real bear?”

Grant’s sarcasm isn’t something King finds offensive. In fact, it was Grant’s sometimes biting demeanor that made him perfect for his role in the fantasy adventure film. The director said Grant possessed the exact qualities needed to portray a grumpy Oompa Loompa opposite Timothée Chalamet’s ever-optimistic and mischievous Willy Wonka.

Hugh Grant Hates Making Movies But Needs the Money
Warner Bros.

“The Oompa Loompas don’t have any dialogue in the book, really, and the films, they’ve sort of got very little,” King told The Radio Times in a Monday, December 4, interview. “But in the book they do have these very, very long songs — or they’re presented as songs, they’re poems.”

He continued, “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.”

Announced in May 2021, Wonka follows the eccentric chocolatier on one of his earliest adventures where he meets his first Oompa Loompa. With multiple musical numbers included within the film, Grant wasn’t the only cast member who felt nervous about entering the world of Wonka.

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Chalamet, 27, told People last month that “a lot of auto-tune” was used on his vocals, but felt more optimistic than Grant about the performance.

“I loved it,” he gushed to the outlet. “My mom is a dance teacher and my grandmother was a dancer, my sister is a dancer, so I was always sort of around it but it’s a big difference between being around it and having to do it.”

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