Wonka — Remakes and prequels have always been a part of the entertainment business, but they have become increasingly popular in the last decade. Disney, in particular, has made a habit of remaking great films in live-action. Every now and then, they attempt something new and make surprise prequels, such as Maleficent.
Other studios with profitable films and franchises have done something similar as well. Warner Bros. has opted to capitalize on Roald Dahl’s renowned Willy Wonka by casting Timothée Chalamet as the eponymous character. Wonka’s first trailer has just been released, offering audiences a taste of what Chalamet has to offer.
The Wonka trailer, starring Timothée Chalamet, transports viewers and fans to a musical dream that explores the eccentric chocolatier’s early days and how he met the Oompa Loompas. The film is directed by Paul King, who co-wrote the book with Simon Farnaby. Executive producers are Michael Siegel and Alexandra Derbyshire, with Luke Kelly and David Heyman producing under Heyman Films.
The cast features a star-studded lineup that includes the following actors:
- Olivia Colman
- Sally Hawkins
- Keegan-Michael Key
- Mathew Baynton
- Matt Lucas
- Rowan Atkinson
- Jim Carter
- Natasha Rothwell
- Simon Farnaby
- Paterson Joseph
- Tom Davis
- Rakhee Thakrar
- Justin Edwards
- Colin O’Brien
- Ellie White
- Freya Parker
- Kobna Holdbrook-Smith
At the CinemaCon presentation, Warner Bros. also showed Wonka footage. Chalamet also mentioned swimming in a pool of genuine melting chocolate. The newest trailer depicts Timothée Chalamet’s Wonka dancing on café tables while singing a song with people holding umbrellas. He has seven musical numbers in all. Wonka also includes a peek of the legendary golden ticket.
Timothée Chalamet, who plays Willy Wonka, talked with Vogue earlier this year about his excitement for the job. He said he was intrigued by the role because of his personality and appeal to younger people.
“To work on something that will have an uncynical young audience, that was just a big joy,” said the Wonka actor. “That’s why I was drawn to it. In a time and climate of intense political rhetoric, when there’s so much bad news all the time, this is hopefully going to be a piece of chocolate.”
Willy Wonka himself appears in Roald Dahl’s classic children’s novel, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” The plot follows Charlie Bucket, a poor kid who obtains a golden ticket to visit the famed chocolate factory. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder in 1971, and the 2005 film starring Johnny Depp, are both based on the character.
Director Paul King, like many others, grew up watching Gene Wilder’s interpretation of Willy Wonka, which influenced his film’s concept. “That, to me, felt like what a Willy Wonka movie should be,” said King. With his rendition of the renowned chocolatier, he had to make a judgment call.
“I didn’t want to reinvent those things ‘cause it felt like that ‘71 movie had come up with these incredibly enduring, iconic looks,” the director explained. “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 worked extensively with the Roald Dahl estate to gather further ideas for how young Wonka will be presented in order to honor Gene Wilder’s legacy. “It felt like an area that Roald Dahl was always exploring,” he noted.
“He had a try writing a few stories and a few ideas. None of them ever quite hit his quality control threshold, I don’t think, but it felt like he felt there was a life to Willy Wonka beyond Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and [sequel book] The Great Glass Elevator.”
In terms of casting, Paul King considered himself fortunate to have landed Timothée Chalamet. He noted how Chalamet was able to capture Willy Wonka’s crazy, playful, and mysterious energy while still playing him with heart.
“He’s such a brilliant actor at expressing really deep emotions within the context of a family movie. He’s just extraordinary as well at singing and dancing. He’s got the voice of an angel and the toes of… I don’t know what toes. I can’t wait for people to see it. I think it’s gonna blow people away.”
Regarding the similarities to Gene Wilder’s interpretation of Willy Wonka, King feels Chalamet’s version will never be able to match his legacy. Instead, he believes that his idea will develop into its own entity.
“I’m just happy to embrace that and walk in those enormous footsteps.”