Jason Acuña does not appear to be on board with Hugh Grant’s latest movie role.
Following last month’s first look at Grant, 62, as the Oompa Loompa in Timotheé Chalamet’s upcoming movie Wonka, Acuña — best known as Wee Man from the Jackasss film and television series — is joining a growing number of actors with dwarfism who are criticizing the production’s choice to cast Grant as the character.
Acuña, 50, recently appeared in a video shared to TikTok by the popular entertainment account Movie Maniacs in which he says: “Hugh Grant is now playing an Oompa Loompa? So I guess, Hugh Grant, you’re now identifying as a little person?”
The video, which shows the actor’s reaction to Grant’s role against the clip of Grant and 27-year-old Chalamet’s Willy Wonka in the film’s recent trailer, has garnered over 86,000 likes on the social media platform since it was originally shared on July 21.
Acuña’s criticism toward Grant’s casting in the role comes after another actor with dwarfism, George Coppen, shared an Instagram post concerning his thoughts on Grant’s role and noted that actors with dwarfism previously portrayed oompa loompas in both 1971’s Wlly Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
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“This time round they have decided to take work away from us,” Coppen, whose past work includes roles in Artemis Fowl, The School for Good and Evil and most recently in Disney+’s Willow series, wrote in a caption to his post. The actor noted that it remains unclear whether Grant is the only oompa loompa in the Wonka or if more actors will portray members of the fictional species.
“Now some people will say that roles like this are demeaning and we should be playing more ‘normal’ roles which is completely true but we aren’t getting offered those roles so they have kind of shut one door for us without opening the other one,” Coppen wrote in his caption. He added: “Before being put forward for any job I get asked if I want to do it and I’ve been offered jobs in the past that I’m not a fan of so said no but at least give us that option instead of just shutting us out.”
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Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
A Warner Bros. Pictures spokesperson recently told CNN that Grant’s character in Wonka is meant to be approximately 20 inches tall. Wonka director Paul King said that he wanted to cast Grant in the role “because he’s the funniest, most sarcastic s–t I’ve ever met,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Coppen also told the BBC recently that many actors with dwarfism “feel like we are being pushed out of the industry we love” when he spoke with the outlet recently.
“They’ve enlarged his head so his head looks bigger,” he opined of Grant’s appearance in the movie. “[I thought] what the hell have you done to him?”
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Brad Williams, a comedian and actor who also has dwarfism, also expressed mixed feelings about Grant in the role in a post he shared to Twitter last month following the Wonka trailer’s release.
“I’m really torn about this. One part of me is like ‘hey, we are more than just elves, leprechauns, and Oompa Loompas,’ ” Williams wrote in the post. “But then this comes out and I want to scream “How dare they not cast a dwarf as the Oompa Loompa!” #NotMyWonka”
Wonka is set to release in theaters Dec. 15.