As critics share their Wonka takes of both the sweet and sour variety, Hugh Grant has opened up about his own sour experience making the film. The actor plays an Oompa Loompa in the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory prequel, and he’s essentially all CGI. It turns out that the process of motion capture and playing a computer-generated character wasn’t exactly his cup of tea as he explained why he “hated” filming the movie. Honestly, it sounds pretty intense.
Ever since the first Wonka trailer dropped, we’ve known that the Willy Wonka prequel would feature Hugh Grant as a tiny orange singing and dancing Oompa Loompa. Now, as the promotional tour has begun for the musical Paul King flick, the Notting Hill star has not been shy about how much he didn’t like playing the Oompa Loompa Lofty. Saying during a press conference (via Metro.co.uk) that it was “drivel,” the performer spoke about why he didn’t love the process:
This comment was in reference to the motion capture gear and costume he had to wear during the shoot. According to the article, he had multiple cameras on his face and other “apparatuses.” This was all so the animators could transform him into the tiny orange being that befriends Willy Wonka. Making it clear that he did not like the process of filming this movie, Hugh Grant said:
He went on to explain why he had such strong negative feelings about this process, saying that he kept asking if he should “act with my body or not,” noting that he never got a “satisfactory answer.” Continuing to speak to this point, he said:
Honestly, I do get where he’s coming from. This sounds incredibly difficult. Playing a character that will be mostly computer-generated can’t be easy. A lot is left up to the imagination while filming. I’d imagine it’s hard to put yourself in the shoes of a character when you have cameras strapped onto your head, and little direction when it comes to which parts of your body will be incorporated into the character’s physicality.
Finally, when asked if it was worth it, Grant said “not really,” as the Wonka cast laughed. Later in the interview, the actor also joked about how he does “slightly hate [making films]” in general. However, as he stated, he has “lots of children” and he needs money. Luckily, the curmudgeonly mood didn’t put a total damper on his experience, as he did note that it was “quite fun, messing around and trying new lines.”
Luckily, Hugh Grant’s grumpiness worked in his and Paul King’s favor while making Wonka. While defending the Oompa Loompa actor’s casting, the director said he wanted someone who could “be a real shit,” meaning he really wanted to reflect the “humor, sarcasm, superiority and scorn,” that Willy Wonka’s helpers have in the book. So, that’s why Hugh Grant was cast as Lofty, he wanted to harness that sarcastic and curmudgeonly sense of humor.
While it’s a bummer that Hugh Grant “hated” filming Wonka for fair reasons, the film has been getting quite a bit of love. So, to see the actor as an Oompa Loompa in the origin story of the famous chocolatier, you can check out Wonka when it hits the 2023 movie schedule on December 15.