- Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget director Sam Fell explains why some original voice cast members were replaced in the sequel, stating that he didn’t want to make a carbon copy and wanted to make his own creative decisions.
- Mel Gibson’s character, Rocky, has been recast because in this sequel he’s a first-time father and the focus is more on Ginger, making his role different.
- Thandie Newton, Zachary Levi, and David Bradley are among the new cast members, while Miranda Richardson and Jane Horrocks reprise their roles.
Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget director Sam Fell discusses why Mel Gibson and other key characters from the original animated comedy were recast for the forthcoming sequel. Directed by Peter Lord and Nick Park, the original Chicken Run, which was released in June 2000, follows a group of chickens seeking to escape their captivity on a farm in England and become free-range chickens. The widely successful stop-motion animation featured Julia Sawalha, Gibson, Tony Haygarth, and Miranda Richardson along with other talented voice actors. A sequel was announced in 2018, and after years of production, Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget is set to be released on Netflix in December.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter ahead of the official premiere of Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget, Fell reveals why some of the original voice cast of Chicken Run have been replaced while some have been brought back. The director explains that while he thinks the original animation was a masterpiece, he didn’t want to make a carbon copy, leading to the decision to change some of the cast members. With Mel Gibson in particular, he decided to recast the award-winning actor because in this sequel “he’s a first-time father. It’s more Ginger’s movie, so his role is different.” Read his full comment below:
“Going back to that temptation to make this thing and the nervously and apprehension about making it right, as much as I absolutely adore the first film, which I think is a masterpiece, I didn’t feel like I wanted to make a carbon copy. I didn’t want to be too precious around it. So in those first two years I started to make my own decisions and felt, casting wise, we’re 23 years later. It’s a long time. It’s almost a reboot to be honest. It’s a new director and a new era. And I just started thinking, were all those casting decisions made in the late 90s still the best for the roles now. It’s a very personal creative process and I felt in some cases it didn’t quite fit anymore. Sometimes I felt it should stay the same. Ultimately I felt like this film has evolved since the first film, the world has turned on its axis and things have changed.
Mel was a fabulous choice for Rocky when he was this playboy rooster. He was a movie star and Rocky was a movie star. It was perfect. But now Rocky’s more vulnerable. He’s a first-time father. It’s more Ginger’s movie, so his role is different.”
The New & Returning Cast Of Chicken Run: Dawn Of The Nugget Explained
With Chicken Run: Dawn Of The Nugget arriving over two decades after the original’s release, it’s quite understandable why Fell has decided to reshuffle the cast members. Seeing as the chickens have settled into their peaceful lives on a serene island after escaping Mrs. Tweedy’s farm and Ginger and Rocky take on parenthood after hatching a newborn, the forthcoming sequel comes with a new plot that’ll prompt changes in the cast.
Thandie Newton, the English actor who has featured in several notable movies, stars as Ginger, replacing the original voice actor Julia Sawalha. Zachary Levi replaces Mel Gibson as Rocky, while David Bradley comes in as Fowler, replacing Benjamin Whitrow, who passed away in 2017. Some cast members reprising their roles include Miranda Richardson as Mrs. Tweedy and Jane Horrocks as Babs.
Bella Ramsey, Imelda Staunton, and Nick Mohammed are some of the new faces joining the cast of Chicken Run: Dawn Of The Nugget, with the trio voicing Molly, Bunty, and Dr. Frey, respectively. The changes have not gone down well with all the previous cast members as Sawalha called the Chicken Run sequel ageist for recasting the original main characters early into its production. It remains to be seen how these changes would affect this sequel, but if anything is certain, the filmmakers have brought in talented names who would hope to recreate the brilliance of its predecessor.