Paul King is a Lil Timmy Tim stan.
The “Wonka” director shared that it was an easy process to cast Oscar-nominated Timothée Chalamet after learning about Chalamet’s triple-threat talent from his viral LaGuardia High School rap videos. Chalamet didn’t audition to play a young Willy Wonka for the prequel musical film, in part because co-writer King knew of the absurd fandom surrounding Chalamet’s talent show clips.
“It was a direct offer because he’s awesome and he was the only person in my mind who could do it,” said King Rolling stone. “But because he’s Timothée Chalamet and his life is so absurd, his high school music performances are on YouTube and have hundreds of thousands of views. So I knew from Timmy Chalamet’s position that he could sing and dance really well.
King continued, “I knew he was in his arsenal, but I didn’t know how good he was. When I spoke to him he was very enthusiastic. He had done tap dancing in high school and was like, ‘I’d like to show people I can do it.’”
King called ‘Wonka’ a ‘real’ musical, which proved to be a ‘really fun challenge’, adding, ‘Because the film is set in the late 1940s, it felt like a really fun hat for the age of MGM musical’s gold.”
The “Paddington” director teases that “Wonka” is a “companion” film to 1971’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” starring Gene Wilder.
“Of course, I tried to have darker characters than you might find in a ‘Paddington’ movie, for example. It’s a crueller world and it’s a meaner world Willy Wonka is in because that’s the kind of town Charlie grew up in,” King said. “Unlike ‘Paddington’ world, not everyone is nice in a Roald Dahl world. I’ve definitely got to play with those grotesque ideas, but I hope I’m not hurting a generation of children.
It has also been confirmed that Chalamet will sing in James Mangold’s upcoming Bob Dylan biopic, ‘A Complete Unknown’.