Wonka's Timothee Chalamet Landed Role After Director Watched Actor's YouTube Rap Videos

The first trailer for Wonka was released this week, and the upcoming film is the latest to be inspired by Roald Dahl's 1964 novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This iteration sees Dune star Timothée Chalamet playing a younger version of the "Candy Man." Wonka was directed by Paddington and Paddington 2 helmer Paul King, who recently revealed why he cast Chalamet in the iconic role. King told Rolling Stone that he became a fan of Chalamet's after seeing videos of him that showed off his singing and dancing chops.

"It was a straight offer because he's great and he was the only person in my mind who could do it," King explained. "But because he's Timothée Chalamet and his life is so absurd, his high school musical performances are on YouTube and have hundreds of thousands of views. So I knew from stanning for Timmy Chalamet that he could sing and dance really well." King added, "I knew that was in his arsenal, but I didn't know how good he was. When I spoke to him he was quite keen. He'd done tap dancing in high school and he was like, 'I'd quite like to show people I can do that.'"

Is Wonka a Kids' Movie?

Earlier this year, Chalamet revealed Wonka would be something special for younger audiences.

"To work on something that will have an uncynical young audience, that was just a big joy. That's why I was drawn to it," Chalamet explained. "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."

However, King has said Wonka is darker than his previous family-friendly films. 

"Certainly, I tried to have darker characters than [what] you would find in a Paddington movie, for example," King told Rolling Stone. "It's a crueler world and it's a meaner world that Willy Wonka finds himself in because that's the sort of city that Charlie grows up in. Unlike the Paddington world, not everyone is nice in a Roald Dahl world. I definitely got to play with those grotesque ideas, but I hope not to damage a generation of children."

What Is Wonka About?

Wonka follows a young Willy Wonka and his adventures prior to opening the world's most famous chocolate factory. 

In addition to Chalamet in the titular role, Wonka will also feature Olivia Colman (The FavouriteThe Crown), Rowan Atkinson (Mr. BeanLove, Actually), Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water), and Keegan Michael Key (The PromSchmigadoon!). The story is set to occur before the events of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Paul King (Paddington) is set to direct. King is also reuniting with several of his Paddington stars for the new film including Tom Davis, Simon Farnaby, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, and Matt Lucas. Other confirmed cast members include Mathew Baynton (Ghosts), Jim Carter (Downton Abbey), Rich Fulcher (Marriage Story), Paterson Joseph (Noughts + Crosses), Calah Lane (The Day Shall Come), Colin O'Brien (The Mothership), Natasha Rothwell (White Lotus), Rakhee Thakrar (Sex Education), and Ellie White (The Other One). David Heyman (Harry PotterOnce Upon a Time in Hollywood) is producing with Luke Kelly (The Witches) and Alexandra Derbyshire (Jurassic World: Dominion). 

Wonka is set to be released exclusively in theaters on December 15th.