Stars with dwarfism hit back at Hollywood casting choices

Posted 11 months ago by David McManus
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Jackass star, Jason ‘Wee Man’ Acuña [left, credit: Kathy Hutchins] and Game of Thrones actor, Peter Dinklage, are among the film industry icons calling for authentic representation in media. [Source: Shutterstock]
Jackass star, Jason ‘Wee Man’ Acuña [left, credit: Kathy Hutchins] and Game of Thrones actor, Peter Dinklage, are among the film industry icons calling for authentic representation in media. [Source: Shutterstock]

Key points:

  • People with dwarfism have a stunted height, relative to the general population, but live long and fulfilling lives with few, if any, differences in overall development
  • Actors with dwarfism have vocally denounced casting choices for remade/rebooted film properties, such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs [TBA] and Wonka [2023]
  • The backlash initiated by Peter Dinklage in January had been reiterated by Wee Man in a video published to outlet TMZ in July as an ‘existential threat’

 

Jackass star, Jason ‘Wee Man’ Acuña slammed the decision to cast actor Hugh Grant in the upcoming Wonka [2023] film, distributed by Warner Bros. Grant was chosen to play the role of an Oompa Loompa alongside Hollywood darling, Timothée Chalamet, playing the titular Wonka.

Wee Man told the TMZ reporter that he had discussed the casting choices with an acquaintance, “[…] and now Hugh Grant is now playing an Oompa Loompa? So, I guess, Hugh Grant — you’re now identifying as a little person.”

“It’s perfect timing for all of this — with [artificial intelligence — AI] and all that,” Wee Man told TMZ, as he likened the ongoing Screen Actors Guild writers’ strike to the lack of employment for people with dwarfism in the film industry.

Leaked images led many to believe that of the eponymous ‘seven dwarfs’ — one actor lived with dwarfism and the other six characters were played by people who did not have dwarfism.

“I’m not agreeing with it […] you’re replacing jobs that people could have, as little people.”

“Why are you hiring ‘Snow White and the seven average people?’ If that’s what [they] want to do, then I guess they’re going to have a lot of people angry at them,” the actor added.

Game of Thrones actor, Peter Dinklage, ignited backlash against Warner Bros. in January, on the ‘WTF podcast with Marc Maron. Dinklage told Maron and the podcast audience that the plot is “f—ing backwards.”

“Have I done nothing to advance the cause from my soap box? I guess I’m not loud enough. I don’t know which studio that is, but they were so proud of it,” Dinklage said.

“All love and respect to the actress and all the people who thought they were doing the right thing, but I’m just like, ‘what are you doing?’”

Disney initially responded to commentary from Dinklage and other advocates of the dwarfism community.

“To avoid reinforcing stereotypes from the original animated film, we are taking a different approach with these seven characters and have been consulting with members of the dwarfism community,” a Disney spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter.

British actor George Coppen also weighed in on recent ongoing industry concerns regarding the representation of actors with dwarfism and the barriers for employment opportunities they face.

“A lot of actors [with dwarfism] feel like we are being pushed out of the industry we love,” Coppen, who lives with dwarfism, told the BBC.

“One door is being closed, but they have forgotten to open the next one.”