British actress Julia Sawalha, who voiced the character Ginger in the original stop-motion animated film from Aardman Animation, recently revealed that she will not resume her role in Chicken Run 2 for a very stupid reason. Apparently, the producers of the film told Sawalha’s agent that Ginger would be recast with a younger actress because her voice was considered “too old”. This decision came without even having had a voice test to make this decision.
The deadline drew our attention to a post on Twitter written by Julia Sawalha in which she explained the situation:
Chicken Run 2 Announcement!
I was officially picked, stuffed and roasted.
If you are interested, read what I have to say about it. # Ageism @actforchangehqhttps: //t.co/MqUCOLWuPZ
– Julia Sawalha (@ JuliaSawalha1) July 9, 2020
In the letter linked in her tweet, she explained: “Last week I was informed by email by my agent that I would not be thrown like Ginger in the Chicken coop after. The reason they gave is that my voice now sounds “too old” and they want a young actress to take over the role. ”
She went on to explain that usually there would have been some kind of opportunity to have a voice test before this kind of decision was made, especially with the reasoning provided. But Sawalha never had that chance. Since she was not ready to descend without fighting, she made the decision to record lines as Ginger with clips from the original film for comparison. See if you think she looks “too old” by watching her voice test here.
After the producers received the video, one of the creators of the film replied, “Some voices (not yours, I agree) seem definitely older. However, in the same breath, they still said, “We will go ahead to recast Ginger’s voice.”
Sawalha further explained that she was informed of this casting decision after it was revealed that Mel Gibson would not be returning for the Chicken coop after. Curiously, the reasoning behind his redesign was that Gibson’s voice also sounded too old now, not because he was constantly racist and sexist. But this is another entirely conversation.
It is not known if any of the others Chicken coop the actors return, or if they are all swept away with the same excuse. The actress closed the letter by saying:
“I feel like I was fired unfairly. To say that I am devastated and furious would be an understatement. I feel totally helpless, something in all of this does not sound completely true. I trust my instincts and they wave red flags. I am sad to have lost the chance to work with Nick Park and Peter Lord from whom I learned so much. The three of us created Ginger. Today, I responded by wishing the production good luck and the greatest success with the future. ”
It’s both shocking and not surprising at all that this kind of thing always happens, especially when there is clear evidence that the reasoning isn’t even valid … and I mean that literally. Much of the reason why Chicken Run works so well because of the mass distribution, and pushing one of the stars away so disrespectfully is really disappointing. Maybe Aardman Animation wants to go with a more recognizable actress to play the part in order to have more eyes on a sequel, but that just seems unnecessary, and it certainly makes me less than excited about Chicken Run 2. Maybe if there is enough fan noise, they will change their mind and bring Julia Sawalha back.
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