‘Chicken Run’ Star Says She Wasn’t Even Allowed to Voice Test For Her Role in Sequel, Blames ‘Ageism’
The newly-announced Chicken Run sequel is already clucking things up.
The original film’s star, Julia Sawalha, has taken to Twitter to announce that she will not only not reprise the role of Ginger in Netflix’s Chicken Run 2, she wasn’t even allowed to voice test for the role she created because of what she called “ageism.”
In a long open letter, Sawalha explains that she was told she was “too old” to play the part:
Last week I was informed out of the blue, via email, through my agent that I would not be cast as Ginger in the Chicken Run sequel. The reason they gave is that my voice now sounds ‘too old’ and they want a younger actress to reprise the role. Usually in these circumstances, an actress would be given the chance to do a voice test in order to determine the suitability of their pitch and tone, I however was not given this opportunity.
Sawalha was so ticked off that she made her own voice test — and she’s posted the results on Vimeo for anyone to watch and compare. To my untrained ear, she sounds exactly the same as she did 20 years ago. It’s honestly pretty uncanny.
According to Sawalha’s letter, she was told by “one of the creatives” that even though the voice test proved that she sounded the same “some of the voices [in the original cast] definitely sound older” and that the film “will still be going ahead to re-cast the voice of Ginger.” Sawalha goes on to say that she is “devastated and furious” by this decision and feels “totally powerless,” adding “there is nothing more I can do, other than to thank all of you who loved and still loved Chicken Run, as I do.”
Now the producers have an eggy mess on their hands. Unless Sawalha asked for an exorbitant amount of money to return for the film (which seems unlikely since she wasn’t even allowed to audition for the part), I can’t figure out why they wouldn’t want her back. She sounds the same, and she did a wonderful job in the original movie that people loved enough to merit making a sequel 20 years later. Do the producers think they need a big star to play Ginger? I don’t get it.
You can find Sawalha’s full announcement below. At present, Netflix’s Chicken Run 2 does not have a premiere date set.
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