How Tall Oompa Loompas Are In Willy Wonka Movies


  • In the upcoming movie “Wonka,” the Oompa-Loompas will finally be portrayed in a way that avoids controversy and stereotypes from the past.
  • In previous adaptations of Willy Wonka, the Oompa-Loompas had green hair, orange skin, and distinct heights, but lacked individuality and appeared robotic.
  • Hugh Grant’s Oompa-Loompa in “Wonka” is smaller in stature than Chalamet’s Wonka, but he brings more agency and narrative involvement to the character, contributing to the origin story of the Oompa-Loompas.



Oompa-Loompas, the helpful workers that keep Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory running will return in Wonka, an origin story for the inventive chocolatier played by Timothée Chalamet, but their height has changed over the various Willy Wonka movies that have been made. They made their debut in Roald Dahl’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, where they were described as a tribe of 3,000 Black pygmies transported by Mr. Wonka to his factory to work, and were criticized for being a collection of racist stereotypes. In the early ’70s, a revised edition of his novel described the Oompa-Loompas as dwarfs with “golden-brown hair” and “rosy-white skin.”

Beginning with the ’70s classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, the Oompa Loompas only partially adhered to Dahl’s revised description, and even then, eschewed long golden locks for green hair and orange skin while retaining their distinct heights. In Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, that look was removed altogether in favor of using CGI to duplicate actor Deep Roy. In Wonka, Hugh Grant’s Oompa-Loompas can fix the controversy that’s plagued the franchise for 60 years as an amalgamation of the best part of the films while dispelling the worst part ot the book.

How Tall Oompa Loompas Are In Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

In the book, Willy Wonka describes the Oompa-Loompas as being the size of dolls, possibly only knee-high, which would be almost impossible to depict in live-action. In the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, they’re played by men whose average height was about 4 feet tall. In total, ten actors played the Oompa-Loompas in the Chocolate Factory, whose countries of origin included England, Malta, Turkey, and Germany.

These Oompa-Loompas were the first to debut the orange skin and green hair combination and depict Wonka’s helpers as being meticulous, hard-working, and harmonious. Their scenes include some of the most memorable of the film, including “The Oompa-Loompa Song” whenever a child was evicted from the factory following some freakish accident brought on by their own avarice. By casting real actor to portray them, each with their own distinct personalities, the Oompa-Loompas seemed like real people and helped the world of Willy Wonka come alive.

How Tall Oompa Loompas Are In Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

Oompa Loompa

Deep Roy is an actor who has often been cast as characters with lower-than-average heights, including Teeny Weeny in The NeverEnding Story and all the Oompa-Loompas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Roy stands at 4’4″ tall and is already shorter than most of the child actors in the film, but regardless of this fact, his height was altered even further with CGI so that the visitors, and the scale of the Chocolate Factory, would seem even bigger around him. Burton didn’t paint his face orange, bleach his eyebrows, nor give him green hair, instead choosing to put him (and his duplicates) in shiny red jumpsuits.

Changing Roy’s height also meant that the Oompa-Loompas adhered to their descriptions in the book by looking more “doll-like” in comparison to Willy Wonka (Johnny Depp) and only coming up to his knees. Unfortunately, having all the Oompa-Loompas look the same robbed the characters of a sense of variety. Add to that the fact that the CGI used to duplicate him also made him look divorced from the scenes with the rest of the characters, and the scenes with dozens of Oompa-Loompas doing synchronized choreography, though seamless looking, came across as robotic and ventured into the uncanny valley.

How Tall Oompa Loompas Are In Wonka Compared To Hugh Grant’s Height

Hugh Grant as an Oompa Loompa in Wonka.

So far there have been trailers depicting Hugh Grant resembling the Oompa-Loompas in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory with orange skin, green hair, and white eyebrows. Wonka’s Hugh Grant Oompa-Loompa controversy arose because Grant is 5’11” but as an Oompa-Loompa is clearly much smaller in stature than Chalamet’s Wonka, and could have been played by an actor with dwarfism. It remains to be seen whether every Oompa-Loompa encountered in the film will look like him, which could rob them of their individuality, but at least for now, his character seems full of spirit and eccentricities, sure to have as many scene-stealing opportunities as his predecessors in the part.

In his own words, Grant’s Oompa-Loompa is a “perfectly respectable size” and looks to be the most narratively involved Oompa-Loompa to ever appear in any of the Willy Wonka films. He has a lot more agency and plot propulsion than any other version, with most of Wonka’s greatest moments being directly tied to his actions as a young Wonka’s mentor. Not only is he fundamental to the creation of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory and its delicious recipes, but Wonka looks to tell as much of an Oompa-Loompa origin story as a Willy Wonka one, which ultimately bolsters the contribution of every Oompa-Loompa who has come before him.

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