Deep Roy may not have one of the largest roles in Tim Burton's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," which opens Friday, but he certainly has the most.
The 30-year veteran of film, television and commercials has the daunting task of playing all of the Oompa Loompas -- the diminutive workers who come from an oppressed foreign locale to work in Willy Wonka's chocolate factory -- in the fanciful adaptation of Roald Dahl's popular children's novel.
Johnny Depp plays Wonka; Freddie Highmore, Depp's costar in "Finding Neverland," is Charlie Bucket, a poor boy who wins a chance to tour the factory.
The 4-foot-4 Roy, born in Nigeria of Indian heritage, worked with Burton as a gorilla girl in 2001's "Planet of the Apes" and as Mr. Soggybottom in 2003's "Big Fish."
At last count, he plays 165 Oompas in "Charlie" -- including a tribal chief, female secretaries and a nattily dressed psychiatrist.
"I also did the motion capture for the background Oompas that you see far away," Roy points out.
The roles were physically demanding, Roy says. "Tim Burton's quote about me is, 'He's the most hard-working man in show business.' "
To get in shape, Roy worked with a Pilates teacher for six months. He also worked with a vocal coach.
"I had a special diet they put me on -- protein as well as veggies. Then they measured my weight every week. They measured my chest and my arms. They didn't want me to change. I worked hard, and it has paid off."
Roy performs all the musical numbers. In one amusing sequence, he plays every member of a rock band and had to learn how to play the instruments "so I could look like I knew what I was doing."
Each musical interlude took a month to rehearse. "Even though you only see two or three minutes of it, a lot of effort went into it."
Though the Oompas are identical in appearance, Roy says he tried to give each one a slightly different personality. "Maybe you won't see it, but I never did the same thing twice," he says.
Since completing "Charlie," Roy has teamed again with Burton, this time supplying the voice of Napoleon Bonaparte in the director's stop-motion animated film, "The Corpse Bride."
Roy reports that he didn't use a French accent. "Tim said, 'I want you to be you.' "