The original voice actress of lead hen on the flock, Ginger, has blasted producers of the planned movie sequel for being ageist. Julia Sawalha has made the allegations following the news that there will no longer be a role for her in 'Chicken Run 2', citing that the team believe her to be "too old".
Sawalha, who voiced Ginger in the original 20 years ago, says she was "devastated and saddened" to be told via an email that the Netflix sequel will not be bringing her back.
Explaining the situation in a statement on Twitter, the 51-year-old said: "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."
The voice actress says that she sent the producers a recording of her voice, proving that it hadn't changed all that much in the 20 or so years since the first movie. She continued: "I went to great lengths to prove to the production that my voice is nigh on the same as it was in the original film.
"If they will be using some of the original cast members... 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. 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."
You can read Julia Sawalha's full statement in her tweet below, where she used the #ageism.
— Julia Sawalha (@JuliaSawalha1) July 9, 2020
Sawalha's lead role of Ginger isn't the only character that will be re-cast for 'Chicken Run 2', as Mel Gibson's Rocky is also on the chopping block. The same "too old" reasoning has been cited for Gibson's involvement in the project (but we all know it's really because he's become wildly unpopular for his anti-semitic rhetorics, and returning to voice a kid's movie wouldn't be a smart move).
Instead, Netflix and Aardman Animations are believed to be looking for younger cast members for the animated sequel.