Julia Sawalha will not be reprising the role of Ginger in Chicken Run 2 – and she says she’s “devastated and furious”.
The news that Aardman is finally pressing ahead with a Chicken Run sequel landed last year, and a week or two back it was announced that Netflix is funding the project. Furthermore, that it’s heading into production next year.
However, it seems that there’s some recasting of voices going on. Specifically, the lead role of Ginger, so wonderfully voiced by Julia Sawalha in the first film. Sawalha broke the news in a statement she posted via social media where she said that “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”.
This is a surprise. After all, the Toy Story films kept their core cast for the best part of 20 years and change, without recasting.
Sawalha has posted a full letter where she explains that “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. I am passionate about my work and I don’t go down without a fight, so I did my own voice test at home and sent it to the producers, which you can view here – vimeo.com/436878444/9f85aae60e”.
That didn’t work, though, and she received “a very kind and thoughtfully written response from one of the creatives, outlining their decision, most notably saying ‘Some of the voices (not yours, I agree) definitely sound older’. However, they stated ‘We will be going ahead to re-cast the voice of Ginger’”.
“I received my letter of dismissal the day before it was announced that the ‘Lone Free Ranger’ had been axed from the sequel and that the character of Rocky was to be re-voiced. The reason given was that his voice is now too old. I feel I have been fobbed off with the same excuse”.
Sawalha adds “let’s be frank, I feel I have been unfairly dismissed … To say I am devastated and furious would be an understatement. I feel totally powerless, something in all of this doesn’t quite ring true. I trust my instincts and they are waving red flags”.
She has wished the production the best of luck, and you can read here full letter via her Tweet below…
— Julia Sawalha (@JuliaSawalha1) July 9, 2020
As of yet, Aardman hasn’t responded. Aardman is a genuinely lovely company with lovely people in it, and we hope this has a happy ending for everyone. Right now, it’s not looking like there will be.
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