There’s a buzz in the air about the possibility of remaking “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” with a Black boy as the movie’s hero.
Author Roald Dahl’s widow, Liccy Dahl, revealed to the BBC that the character Charlie Bucket was originally a “a little Black boy” from a poor family.
In the interview, on what would have been Dahl’s 101st birthday, she explained that her late husband’s agent insisted that the author change Charlie to a White boy. Liccy Dahl, reflecting on the rewrite, called it a “great pity,” adding that the 1964 book would have been “wonderful” with a Black hero.
Still, there was some controversy surrounding the first edition of the book, in which Dahl depicted his Oompa-Loompa characters as Black pygmies, the Guardian reported.
According to the newspaper, the NAACP learned in 1970 that the book was being adapted for a movie and objected. The image of Black people imported to work in the chocolate factory would have painted a rosy picture of slavery.
Dahl reportedly said it was not his intention to depict slavery in his children’s book. Nevertheless, he understood the objection, and changed the skin color of the Oompa-Loompas to white in the second edition of his book.