Timothée Chalamet Leads Star-Studded Willy Wonka Prequel

Timothée Chalamet is stepping into a world of pure imagination. And not just with his arrival on Arrakis in the  highly-anticipated Dune. The actor will play Willy Wonka in an upcoming film that tackles the iconic character’s life before he became a renowned chocolatier and eccentric inventor. So what is young Wonka up to? How does he feel about golden tickets and chocolate rivers? The plot remains tightly under wraps at the moment, but it seems the world is our (chocolate) oyster when it comes to newly imagined origin stories of famous characters.

Timothee Chalamet in a top hat as Willy Wonka
Warner Bros.

But as this is a Willy Wonka origin tale, one thing seems pretty clear: Charlie Bucket and his unwieldy, bedridden grandparents will be nowhere to be found. Deadline, which broke the news, has indicated that the film will feature musical elements. Whether it’s a full-blown musical or simply features a few song and dance numbers is uncertain. However, given the character’s love for theatrics, I, for one, would love to see an innovative young Wonka pursuing a career on the stage. 

Anyone who’s followed Chalamet’s exploits knows of his high school rapping era. But it seems a new musical era from the young star is upon us. Wonka, from Warner Bros. and the Roald Dahl Story Co., will be directed by Paul King—who helmed the beloved Paddington films. (Of which the sequel is allegedly the greatest film of all time.) King wrote the script with Simon Farnaby. Keegan-Michael Key is the latest addition to the production. Per  Variety, where we learned the new, Key’s character is known as “the police man” although details are not confirmed just yet. Additionally, Rowan Atkinson, Sally Hawkins, Olivia Colman, Mathew Baynton, Jim Carter, Rich Fulcher, Tom Davis, Simon Farnaby, and Kobna Holdbrook-Smith have joined the cast.

The upcoming film is the third adaptation including the famous Roald Dahl character. For many, Gene Wilder is the seminal Willy Wonka, thanks to his starring role in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Johnny Depp was the face of a later (very creepy) reinterpretation in the 2005 Tim Burton flick. Both, of course, based on Dahl’s 1964 book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 

Will Chalamet give us iconic pratfalls and a top hat? A gritty reimagining of the character? (We certainly hope not.) We’re plenty intrigued and are definitely curious to see how this project takes shape.  The film drops on December 15, 2023.

Originally published on May 24, 2021.

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