Timothee Chalamet will play Willy Wonka in Warner Bros.'s upcoming film, telling the character's origin story, according to Deadline. Paul King directs the film, titled Wonka, from a screenplay by Simon Farnaby. David Heyman is producing on behalf of Heyday Films, with Luke Kelly also producing. Michael Siegal is an executive producer. The prequel is Warner Bros.'s third film based on or inspired by Roald Dahl's children's novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Gene Wilder gave a now-iconic portrayal of the eccentric candy tycoon in 1971's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Johnny Depp inherited the role when frequent collaborator Tim Burton put his spin on the story in 2005's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Chalamet is an Academy Award-nominated actor who stars in Denis Villeneuve's Dune, his first blockbuster, releasing later this year. He's known for his performances in Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird, and Little Women. Deadline's report states that the film is a musical, putting Chalamet's singing and dancing skills on display. Rumors suggested Chalamet was a top contender for the role, along with Spider-Man star Tom Holland. It seems schedules have finally aligned in a way that allows the actor to sign on to the project, which had long been stuck in developmental limbo until recently.
"We are still trying to figure out how to tell that story, what the story is," Heyman told Collider. "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."
What do you think of Chalamet as young Willy Wonka? Let us know in the comments. Wonka opens in theaters on March 17, 2023.