British actress Julia Sawalha has claimed she is being chopped from the upcoming Chicken Run sequel because her voice now sounds “too old”.
In a statement published online, Sawalha said she has been told by producers via her agent that the character of Ginger will be recast with a younger actress for the second movie, and that she hadn’t been given the opportunity to do a voice test to determine her suitability for the role. The actress posted the hashtag #ageism in an accompanying tweet.
Sawalha took the step of recording her own voice test and posting it online (you can watch that via the link in the letter below). She said that this was sent to producers Aardman Animations, and they had responded with, “Some of the voices (not yours, I agree) definitely sound older,” however they had also confirmed, “We will be going ahead to re-cast the voice of Ginger”.
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“Let’s be frank, I feel I have been unfairly dismissed,” added Sawalha. “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 a red flag.”
Chicken Run 2 is set to follow original characters Rocky and Ginger who are now living in a human-free sanctuary, having hatched a little girl called Molly. Mel Gibson voiced Rocky in the original, and last month it was reported his part would be recast, though there was speculation that announcement was linked to accusations of anti-semitism, which had resurfaced against the actor just days before. However, in her letter today Sawalha claims that decision was also down to Gibson now sounding “too old”.
Here’s Sawalha tweet, which links to the letter:
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