Advance Tickets WONKA opens December 15th
No one should ever underestimate the power of something as sweet as candy. Case in point, the enduring popularity of seminal author Roald Dahl’s iconic novel, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” which has already been adapted for the big screen twice – first in 1971 with a film that amended the title to include eccentric chocolatier, Willy Wonka, played by Gene Wilder, and again in 2005 with the original title intact, Tim Burton at the helm, and Johnny Depp as the lead. A third film based in this scrumdiddlyumptious world is on its way and the one wearing the hat this time is Timothée Chalamet.
If the 27-year-old Academy AwardⓇ nominee seems a little young to be playing the title role of WONKA – one of our most anticipated 2023 movies, which is set to open on December 15th – rest assured that it is not just some Oompa-Loompa-esque riddle. Everything will make sense in our following breakdown of the most essential things to know before this fantastic new adventure comes to AMC Theatres. We shall begin with the story, which is, indeed, set at the beginning of our main hero’s legendary career.
Willy Wonka’s Origin Story
Much like the original novel, WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY and the 2005 update are told from the point of view of poor youngster Charlie Bucket. The candy man himself, however, is kept in a more mysterious light for the most part. For any fans who ever wanted to learn more about his backstory, they may find the answers they have been looking for in WONKA.
This film is the first inspired by Dahl’s book that does not directly adapt the story, but instead serves as a prequel to it. It traces the story of how the title character evolved from a young man of humble beginnings and grand aspirations in the candy industry to a humbling figure of grand inspiration for sweet tooths all over the world, with the help of a little imagination, invention, and, perhaps, magic.
Timothée Chalamet Leads
The honor of playing a younger Willy Wonka has been given to Timothée Chalamet – a star of great esteem since his breakthrough role in CALL ME BY YOUR NAME who also has DUNE: PART TWO arriving in November this year. He is joined by up-and-comer Calah Lane as his friend, Noodle, according to an exclusive People report. According to Ox In A Box, Paterson Joseph also stars as Slugworth – who, as we know, eventually comes to work for Wonka – alongside Matt Lucas as another business rival, as well as comedian Keegan-Michael Key as a police officer unable to resist the young candymaker’s product.
The star-studded WONKA cast also includes the likes of Mathew Baynton, Academy Award winner Olivia Colman, comedy legend Rowan Atkinson, Jim Carter, Tom Davis, and OscarⓇ nominee Sally Hawkins as Willy’s mother. A preview of the film that debuted during the Warner Bros. showcase at CinemaCon 2023 in Las Vegas also unveiled the first look at a digitally shrunk-down Hugh Grant as the first Oompa-Loompa Wonka has an encounter with.
Paul King Directs
Bringing the wondrous world of WONKA back to the big screen is a filmmaker already well-versed in adapting classic children's literature to film, Paul King, who is best known for helming the 2014 live-action PADDINGTON movie and its even more widely acclaimed sequel from. He previously demonstrated his talent for surreal whimsy with his 2009 feature film debut, BUNNY AND THE BULL, which featured Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding of the British comedy duo, The Mighty Boosh, whose popular sketch series was directed by King, save two episodes.
King also co-wrote the screenplay with his frequent collaborator, Simon Farnaby – also known for appearing on “The Mighty Boosh,” playing one of the lead roles of BUNNY AND THE BULL, and playing Barry the Security Guard in both PADDINGTON movie, the second of which he also has a writing credit on. The comedian also teamed up with Barratt as the stars and writers of the 2016 action-comedy MINDHORN and pulled the same double duty with WONKA actor Baynton for two British fantasy-comedy series – “Yonderland” and “Ghosts” – the latter of which was recently adapted for American television by CBS.
Watch The Trailer
The two previous live-action, cinematic interpretations of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” each bear their own distinct visual style and emotional tone. King also appears to be keeping things fresh this time around by reinventing Willy’s world into something not quite like either adaptation – save the design of one familiar, orange and green creature. See for yourself by watching the first official trailer for WONKA below:
From what we can see in the trailer, it looks like Chalamet is doing a brilliant job embodying the distinct eccentricities of Gene Wilder’s beloved performance, while also bringing his own youthful exuberance to the role. The clip is loaded with memorably magical moments, such as when Willy is nearly fined for having a dance-filled daydream about his prospective shop or when he serves a type of candy that has the local “Chocolate Cartel” literally floating on air. The charming tease of Grant’s Oompa-Loompa is a perfect way to cap things off at the end.
It has been a while since we have seen a feature-length Dahl adaptation on the big screen, which has us especially excited for WONKA. Experience the magic when it opens at an AMC Theatres location near you!
Advance Tickets WONKA opens December 15th