There have been two big screen adaptations of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory over the years, each depicting its main character as an angelic, fair-skinned boy with a hungry heart of gold.
But when he originally envisioned the main protagonist of the classic tale, author Roald Dahl pictured Charlie a bit differently!
In a recent interview with BBC Radio 4‘s Today program, Liccy Dahl revealed that her late husband initially depicted Charlie as “a little black boy.”
Roald’s biographer Donald Sturrock told the program that the author “had a foot in both camps” in regards to both American and British sensibilities — which, according to Liccy, is the reason behind Charlie Bucket’s original ethnicity:
“His first Charlie that he wrote about, you know, was a little black boy. I’m sure that was influenced by America.”
That definitely makes sense considering that the novel was published in 1964 amid the African-American civil rights movement.
As for why black Charlie never made it to the final manuscript, Sturrock says Roald’s publisher advised against it, telling the BBC:
“It was his agent who thought it was a bad idea, when the book was first published, to have a black hero. She said: ‘People would ask why.'”
Now, people would ask why not!
Liccy told the channel she thought this critical change was a “great pity,” adding that it would be “wonderful” to see Charlie depicted the way he was in her husband’s original vision.
We hope studios keep this in mind when developing the next inevitable remake down the road!
Ch-ch-check out a clip of Liccy’s interview (below).
[Image via Paramount Pictures.]