Warner Bros.' Wonka is reportedly looking at Spider-Man actor Tom Holland or Dune star Timothee Chalamet to star in the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory prequel film, as the younger version of Willy Wonka. Wonka is finally headed for production after languishing in development limbo since 2016; when the project was first announced, Warner Bros. was reportedly looking at a shortlist of actors that included Ryan Gosling, Ezra Miller, and Donald Glover; clearly, the bar has now been moved to a new set of 20-something stars that would be more viable for a family film about a young Willy Wonka.
If Collider's reporting is correct, either Holland or Chalamet would be a major big get for Wonka, as they are two of the biggest young leading men working today. Tom Holland has already established himself as both a comedic, dramatic, and action-capable star, through Spider-Man and the Avengers movies. Chalamet has earned major dramatic acclaim through films like Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird, and Little Women - with Dune posied to be his first big blockbuster franchise. However, Chalamet's recent appearance on Saturday Night Live has earned major views and brought the actor much more clout for his comedic talents.
That's all to say: while Tom Holland is the obvious easy choice, Timothee Chalamet may be the dark horse surprise that could really make Wonka work. It really depends on which version of the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie that Wonka wants to honor with its prequel story.
"We are still trying to figure out how to tell that story, what the story is. It's a prequel, it's not a sequel. What makes Willy—when we find him at the chocolate factory doing the golden ticket, where is he before that? What leads him to that place where he's locked himself away? It's how does he get there? So we're playing around with that.
It's not a remake... But it's possibly an origin story... It's challenging because you don't have Dahl, you don't have a Dahl book, and yet you have a Dahl character.
But I think there's a lot in his character that suggests who he is and also where he might come from or what his childhood or his middle age might have been like. So we're exploring that. We're discussing it. We're in the very early stages and very excited about what lies ahead."
Wonka will be released in theaters on March 17, 2023.