It was revealed last week that acclaimed childhood novelist Roald Dahl had originally wanted Charlie from his 1964 notable kids book Charlie & The Chocolate Factory to be a black boy. But his agent argued against it, feeling it would cause unnecessary controversy and have an adverse effect on book sales.
While it was disappointing to hear that a widely respected kids novel could have been written with some well needed diversity considering the state of race relations of Britain in the 1960s, the influence of Charlie & The Chocolate Factory can definitely be felt decades later in the 2006 animated show Class of 3000. Southern hip-hop legend and multiple Grammys award winner; Andre 3000 stars as Sunny Bridges, a music teacher who takes his students on a trip through his own factory of music.
The way he leads the kids through his wonderland of beats and harmonies is very reminiscent of Willy Wonka’s tour through his saccharine world, but Willy passive-aggressively offs his group of kids one by one like a PG rated horror film. Sunny inspires his young hitmakers to play their hearts out every time they touch their instruments.
While the show ended in 2008, fellow 90s kids still have fond memories of its experimental, cheerful and downright funky vibe. So what would this show look like as a live action film? How about Pitch Perfect with a sprinkle of Gleeand a peppering of dignity for all the characters of color? Here’s a list of actors we’d love to see funking up the the streets of Atlanta for the kids.
Andre 3000 as Sunny Bridges
Because…DUH! Not only is Three Stacks the voice of Sunny in the original show, he’s Atlanta hip-hop royalty. He’s one half of the iconic rap duo Outkast, whose Grammy award winning double album Speakerboxx/The Love Below went Diamond in 2003. On top of that, he’s shown off his acting chops in Be Cool, Four Brothers, and as rock legend Jimi Hendrix in All Is by My Side. Imagine Mr. Benjamin hitting the dance from the “Hey Ya” music video in a purple vest, blue slacks and a wide-brimmed hat. Issa no-brainer.
Alex Hibbert as Lil D
Alex Hibbert showed quiet strength as Chiron in the Oscar award-winning drama Moonlight. It would be great to see what he does with a more cheerful role as the slick talking, drumstick rocking Lil’ D. He’d be the perfect fit to crank this thang up!
Sean Ryan Fox as Philly Phil
Sean Ryan Fox is an up and coming star, who currently stars on Henry Danger as the titular hero’s lovable but gullible best friend Jasper Dunlop. His fun-filled attitude is a perfect match for Philly Phil, a kid who brings the bass to the 3000 ensemble He’s even got the same curly hair!
Trintee Stokes as Tamika Jones
Trinitee is an extremely talented young actress. She made her acting debut in KC Undercover, playing the snappy robot sister Judy Cooper alongside Zendaya. This would make her to be perfect as Tameka; the no-nonsense girl who makes even the toughest kids on the block “prove it or move it”
Jeremy Ray Taylor as Edward “Eddie” Phillip James Lawrence III
Jeremy Taylor really stood out as the socially awkward, book-smart hopeless romantic Ben Hanscom in the hit Stephen King remake IT. Have him put on a syrupy southern accent and he’d be perfect for Eddie, the super privileged clarinet player with a deep crush on Tameka.
Nina Lu and Forrest Wheeler as Kim and Kam Chin
Nina Lu and Forrest Wheeler are laugh out loud funny on their shows Bunk’dand Fresh Off The Boat, respectively. Nina showed promise as perfectionist Tiffany Chen and Forrest continues to hilariously get on his older brother’s nerves as the intelligent yet hopeless romantic Emery Huang. They’d be great together as the musical twins Kim and Kam, playing the piano in perfect harmony
Jade Pettyjohn as Madison Spaghettini Papadopoulos
Jade Pettyjohn’s got some experience being a part of a musical group, playing Summer on Nickelodeon’s School of Rock. She should have no problem putting on an upbeat southern accent to play Madison Popadopoulos, the happy-go-lucky flower child of the group who loves to make her violin strings sing.
Tony Plana as Principal Luna
Tony Plana is most well known for playing Ugly Betty’s loving father Ignacio Suarez. He’s been a nurturing father figure for an artsy Justin Suarez, so it’s easy to see him running after a bunch of creative kids. He’d absolutely eat up the role of Mr. Luna, the headmaster of a school for the arts who loves competing with Sunny for cool points as well as overusing the word “fantastic.”
Phil LaMarr as Cheddar Man
Phil LaMarr is a well renowned voice actor who did many voices for Family Guy, Justice League, and even Class of 3000. He already nailed the voice of Sunny’s shady friend Cheddar Man, so putting on his persona in a live-action show wouldn’t be much of a stretch.
So what do you think? Are there other people you think would be a better fit for the Class of 3000? Be sure to leave your comments below or hit up @nerdypoc on Twitter!
Author: Lorenzo Simpson
Editor: Ammaarah Mookadam
Keshav Kant, aka Mx. KantEven, is a med student tuned Executive Director of Off Colour!
You’ve probably seen her on Twitter and TikTok, both @MxKantEven, or caught her work on Off Colour's many channels.
From consulting on films & shows, manuscript review, conducting interviews, or hosting podcasts & panels, if there is some way to bring sensitivity and authenticity to diversity, inclusion and equity conversations, Keshav will be there.