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Home News Chicken Run star Julia Sawalha 'furious' after claiming she has been axed...

Chicken Run star Julia Sawalha ‘furious’ after claiming she has been axed from film’s sequel

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Julia Sawalha has hit out at Aardman Animation after being told her role in the anticipated Chicken Run sequel is being recast.

The British actress, 51, posting a lengthy statement on Twitter on Thursday, telling fans she had been ‘unfairly dismissed’ from the recently announced sequel to the 2000 film.

Julia voiced Ginger in the original movie, and with the plot synopsis for the follow-up confirming the character’s return, the actress hoped she’d be back.

Dismissed: Julia Sawalha has hit out at Aardman Animation after being told her role in the anticipated Chicken Run sequel is being recast

Dismissed: Julia Sawalha has hit out at Aardman Animation after being told her role in the anticipated Chicken Run sequel is being recast

Posting a statement on Twitter under the heading ‘Chicken Run 2 announcement! I have officially been plucked, stuffed & roasted #ageism’, Julia wrote that she was told ‘out of the blue’ that the film’s creatives were planning on recasting.

‘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,’ she wrote.

‘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.’

Determined to prove her voice has not changed in 20 years, Julia explained that she recorded a voice test at home and sent it to producers, providing a link to the video.

Star:The actress, 51, posting a lengthy statement on Twitter, telling fans she had been 'unfairly dismissed' from the recently announced sequel to the 2000 film in which she voiced Ginger

Star:The actress, 51, posting a lengthy statement on Twitter, telling fans she had been ‘unfairly dismissed’ from the recently announced sequel to the 2000 film in which she voiced Ginger

But her efforts were wasted as she later received an email from producers saying they still planned to recast.  

‘I received my letter of dismissal the day before it was announced that the ‘Lone Free Ranger’ had been axed from the sequel and that the character of Rocky was to be re-voiced,’ she continued, referring to the character voiced by Mel Gibson in the original.

‘The reason given was that his voice is now too old. I feel I have been fobbed off with the same excuse.

'Ageism': Julia posted a statement on Twitter under the heading 'Chicken Run 2 announcement! I have officially been plucked, stuffed & roasted #ageism'

‘Ageism’: Julia posted a statement on Twitter under the heading ‘Chicken Run 2 announcement! I have officially been plucked, stuffed & roasted #ageism’

Speaking out: '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' Julia wrote in an open letter

Speaking out: ‘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’ Julia wrote in an open letter

‘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.’

She continued: ‘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.’

Julia ended her statement by saying she wished the production success, explaining: ‘Today I responded by wishing the production the best of luck and the greatest success with the sequel,’ she concluded.

‘There is nothing more I can do, other than to thank all of you who loved and still love Chicken Run, as I do. I’m off for the chop now,’ she added, before signing off as Ginger.

MailOnline has contacted Aardman for comment. 

It was announced last month that Aardman’s Chicken Run 2 has been picked up by Netflix on the 20th anniversary of the original film.

The sequel was given the green-light two years ago after fans set up a petition for its release, and the upcoming movie is now expected to go into full production in 2021.  

Still Ginger: Determined to prove her voice has not changed in 20 years, Julia explained that she recorded a voice test at home and sent it to producers

Still Ginger: Determined to prove her voice has not changed in 20 years, Julia explained that she recorded a voice test at home and sent it to producers

Two decades after the blockbuster first dropped, Sam Fell’s British hit still remains the highest-grossing stop-motion animated film of all time, and even scooped the Best Animated Feature prize at the 2001 Critics’ Choice Awards.

Chicken Run 2 will follow Ginger and Rocky’s new life in a ‘peace island sanctuary’, free of humans after escaping Tweedy’s farm. 

With the hen and rooster hatching a little girl called Molly, the couple’s world seems complete, but they’re later forced to turn their attention towards the dangers of the mainland.

The dynamic duo assemble their troops and put their freedom on the line in a bid to overcome threat. 

New appraoch: 'The reason they gave is that my voice now sounds 'too old' and they want a younger actress to reprise the role,' Julia told her fans

New appraoch: ‘The reason they gave is that my voice now sounds ‘too old’ and they want a younger actress to reprise the role,’ Julia told her fans 

The first installment tells the story of a group of chickens attempting to escape the dreaded slaughter house, going to military-esque lengths to thwart their owners who have gone into the chicken pot pie business. 

It boasted a cast with British and Australian talent, including Sawalha, Oscar winner Mel Gibson, Damage star Miranda Richardson and Auf Wiedersehen, and Pet legend Timothy Spall. 

So far no voice actors have been attached to the second edition, but Aardman staple Sam has returned to direct after winning over fans with his efforts ParaNorman and Flushed Away. 

Worked hard: '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 Julia of her voice test

Worked hard: ‘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 Julia of her voice test

On teaming up with Netflix, Aardman co-founder Peter Lord said: ‘Fans around the world have waited patiently for a sequel idea worthy of Chicken Run so we’re delighted to announce, on the 20th anniversary, that we’ve found the perfect story. 

‘Netflix feels like the ideal creative partner for this project too: they celebrate the film-maker, which means we can make the film we want to make – the one we really care about – and share it with a global audience.’  

The exciting project will be released by the network in all countries but China. 

Nick Park, the creator of Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep, will serve as a creative consultant.  

Moving on: Chicken Run 2 will follow Ginger (centre) and Rocky's new life in a 'peace island sanctuary', free of humans after escaping Tweedy's farm

Moving on: Chicken Run 2 will follow Ginger (centre) and Rocky’s new life in a ‘peace island sanctuary’, free of humans after escaping Tweedy’s farm

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