Actor Julia Sawalha Accuses Chicken Run Producers Of Ageism For Replacing Her With A Younger Voice

Getty Image

Here’s an interesting one: voiceover actor Julia Sawalha has been taken off the sequel to Chicken Run because she sounds too old now.

The Hollywood Reporter

“The reason they gave is that my voice now sounds ‘too old’ and they want a younger actress to reprise the role,” said the 51-year-old, who was 30 at the time of the first movie. “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.”

Look, I know being a female actor is brutal—from all the #MeToo stories we’ve heard to the unequal pay versus their male costars, I admire women who make careers out of acting in spite of the deck being stacked against them.

That said, VOICEOVER actors are a totally different ballgame. We… can’t see you. No idea if your face looks 20 or 100. No need for botox, chin tucks, lip fillers, or spanx. Have a brownie sundae on set, take a few nights off from sleeping while you spoon your meth pipe. Puffy face? Bags under the eyes? Who cares! Nobody gives a shit as long as you sound the same as you did yesterday.

Does Julia Sawalha deserve a chance to audition for the reprisal of her role? Probably. Maybe. I don’t know; maybe they found someone who sounds more like a chicken this time around. After all, it has been 21 years since the first installment. TWENTY-ONE YEARS. There may be a damn army of chicken impersonators out there. Times change, Julia. Don’t be sad that it’s over, be happy that it happened or something.

21 years ago, my voice sounded like a pit bull chew toy on its last legs. I’m fairly sure that 21 years from now, my voice won’t sound the way it does today—much more regret probably, some fatigue, a general sense of disappointment… that’s my vocal forecast for 2041. We’ll see. The point is, if I played some claymation bird in a movie tomorrow, and they did a sequel in 21 years and replaced me, I’d be bummed but I think I’d understand.

Or maybe I’d sneak in to the studio and rage pound all the clay sets and characters into one flat pancake tapestry. With a big cushioned mallet ripped from a whack-a-mole game. Replace me? REPLACE ME?!?!? I’ll show them. I’ll show them all.