Posting on social media, the actress (who voiced lead Ginger in the 2000 stop-motion comedy) said she was “devastated and furious” at the news, saying she had “officially been plucked, stuffed & roasted”.
Sawalha, 51, said that, after sending a voice test to producers (which can be seen here), she was told the role would be recast.
— Julia Sawalha (@JuliaSawalha1) July 9, 2020
“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,” she wrote. “If they will be using some of the original cast members…let’s be frank, I feel I have been unfairly dismissed.
“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.”
However, Sawalha – who is also known for playing Saffy in Absolutely Fabulous – also wished the new production “best of luck and the greatest success” with the newly-announced sequel.
RadioTimes.com has reached out to Aardman Animations and distributor Netflix for comment.
Sawalha’s statement comes days after reports Rocky – the rooster voiced by Mel Gibson, now 64 – would also be recast.
Chicken Run – the first full-length feature from Wallace and Gromit studio Aardman – followed a group of chickens in a Great-Escape-style attempt to escape a farm and the devilish Mrs Tweedy.
The Chicken Run sequel, which is set to start production next year, is set to follow Ginger and Rocky (now parents) as they face a “terrible threat” to “the whole of chicken-kind”.
As a synopsis released by Aardman says: “For Ginger and her team, even if it means putting their own hard-won freedom at risk – this time, they’re breaking in!”