Casting agents wanted a younger bird.
Julia Sawalha, who voiced the character of Ginger in the 2000 film “Chicken Run,” will not be voicing the character in the upcoming sequel because producers have deemed her too old, she said.
“Chicken Run 2 announcement! I have officially been plucked, stuffed & roasted,” Sawalha, 51, captioned a Twitter post Thursday with the hashtag #ageism and her full open letter on the matter.
“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,” she wrote in the tweet. “The reason they gave is that my voice now sounds ‘too old’ and they want a younger actress to reprise the role.”
Mel Gibson, 64, who co-starred alongside Sawalha in the original animated film, was also axed from the sequel.
Sawalha, who was 30 when the first “Chicken Run” film was released, says that the decision was made without giving her the opportunity to do a voice test, which she claims is usually standard in such situations. Not ready to give up without a fight, Sawalha recorded her own voice test at home and sent it to the producers. She received a response from one of the creatives, who agreed with her that her voice had not audibly aged, but told her the role would still be recast.
“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,” Sawalha’s letter continued. “To say I am devastated and furious would be an understatement. I feel totally powerless.”
Still, while she did not respect the decision she does not maintain ill will for the project, and wrote that she wished the production “the best of luck and the greatest success with the sequel.”
Aardman Animations, which produced “Chicken Run,” has not responded to a request for comment, according to the Hollywood Reporter.