Actress Julia Sawalha has revealed that she won't be reprising her role Ginger in Chicken Run 2 Though it was admittedly not her decision. Sawalha very much wants to return, but the producers have said that she now sounds "too old" to play the part. This, even though Sawalha has made a video reciting some of her lines from the first movie to demonstrate that she sounds nearly the same.
The news was revealed in a letter posted by Julia Sawalha online. Ginger was one of the key characters in the first Chicken Run, which was released back in 2000. It was recently confirmed that Aardman Animation has teamed up with Netflix for the long-awaited sequel. However, Sawalha won't be part of it. Here's what she had to say.
"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. 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."
The video has Julia Sawalha going through some of Ginger's lines from the movie and redoing them now to compare the two. Sawalha sounds remarkably similar in the new line readings. The actress says she received a written response from an unnamed creative working on Chicken Run 2 confirming that they are going to recast Ginger anyway. It was previously confirmed that Mel Gibson will not be returning as Rocky either. But if other original cast members do return, that won't sit well with her.
"If they will be using some of the original cast members...let's be frank, I feel I have been unfairly dismissed."
Peter Lord and Nick Park directed the original. They are returning to produce the Netflix original, with Sam Fell (ParaNorman, Flushed Away) directing the sequel. To conclude her letter, Julia Sawalha expressed her disappointment, while also wishing the production good luck.
"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. I am saddened that I have lost the chance to work with Nick Park and Peter Lord from whom I learnt so much. The three of us, together, created Ginger. Today I responded by wishing the production the best of luck and the greatest success with the sequel. There is nothing more I can do, other than to thank all of you who loved and still love Chicken Run, as I do."
Filming on Chicken Run 2 is expected to begin next year. It isn't clear yet who is being eyed to take on the role of Ginger, nor has it been confirmed which actors, if any, from the original will return. We'll be sure to keep you posted as further details are made available. You can read Julia Sawalha's full statement over at FlippingBook.com.