Timothée Chalamet makes his big-screen musical debut with Warner Bros.’ “Wonka.”
Serving as an origin story for the famed fictional chocolatier, “Wonka” is produced in part by the Roald Dahl Company, based on the novel “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” “Paddington” franchise director Paul King helms the musical film, which also stars Hugh Grant, Olivia Colman, Keegan-Michael Key, Sally Hawkins, Matt Lucas, Rowan Atkinson, Natasha Rothwell, Rufus Jones, and Simon Farnaby.
“Paddington 2” writer/actor Farnaby penned the “Wonka” script with director King. The film centers on an optimistic young Willy Wonka before he opens his elusive chocolate factory.
The 1971 original “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” starred Gene Wilder. Tim Burton previously adapted Roald Dahl’s book in 2005 with Johnny Depp starring as Wonka.
Director King told Entertainment Weekly that he did not want to “reinvent” the story of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” saying that instead “Wonka” would be a “companion” film to the original 1971 version.
“What I wanted this movie to be was like a companion piece to that movie. If you imagine those people in that world 25 years earlier, that was my starting process. Eventually, he would grow into that person and that factory,” King said. “I love the idea of telling a story where Willy Wonka wasn’t just this magical, admirable, extraordinary, inventive character, but where he was actually the emotional heart of the movie.”
According to King, Chalamet was cast without an audition, and the filmmaker praised the Oscar-nominated actor for his Bing Crosby-esque singing voice.
“There’s quite a range, because it does go from a couple of bigger, showstopper-y sort of things, to moments of real, pure emotion and he can do it all,” King later told Total Film, adding, “I didn’t want it to just become a musical where people are singing dialogue to each other for no discernible reason. I felt like it was more like a movie with songs than a musical.”
“Wonka” is produced by David Heyman via his Heyday Films, while Luke Kelly is also producing alongside executive producers Michael Siegel and Alexandra Derbyshire.
“Wonka” premieres December 15 in theaters. Check out the trailer below.