Aardman Animations' Chicken Run sequel is recasting the voice of Ginger, actress Julia Sawalha revealed on Twitter this week. In an open letter to the public, she wrote that the stop-motion studio would not be rehiring her for the part she originated in 2000 because her voice sounds "too old."
"I am passionate about my work and I don't want to go down without a fight, so I did my own voice test at home and sent it to the producers," reads the letter. You can listen to the test here.
Sawalha says 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 recast the voice of Ginger.'"
The part of Rocky the rooster (originally voiced by Mel Gibson) is being recast as well.
"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," continued Sawalha. "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."
She voiced her disappointment at not being able to re-team with Aardman vets Nick Park and Peter Lord (they directed the original) with whom she created the character of Ginger. Even so, she wished the studio "best of luck and the greatest success with the sequel."
Sam Fell (Flushed Away, ParaNorman) has been tapped to helm the follow-up, which finds Ginger and Rocky raising a daughter together in a chicken utopia. As she grows, the chick, Molly, yearns of leaving the safety of her island home, while a growing threat on the mainland forces Ginger to rally the egg-laying troops back into action.
Inspired by The Great Escape, Chicken Run (released in the summer of 2000) followed a group of rebellious chickens trying to escape the farm on which they live before they're baked into pies.
Karey Kirkpatrick, who penned the first movie, co-wrote the sequel with John O’Farrell. The film will exclusively premiere on Netflix.