Production Begins on ‘Wonka’ Prequel Starring Timothée Chalamet
Who can reboot a sunrise? Sprinkle it with dew. Cover it with chocolate and a prequel or two? The Candy Man can. The Candy Man can ’cause he mixes it with love and makes the box office grosses real good.
Or so Warner Bros. hopes. They announced today that they’ve officially started production on Wonka, a prequel to the Roald Dahl novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that’s been previously filmed as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (by Mel Stuart) and under its original title (by Tim Burton). In the previous films, Wonka was played by Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp, respectively. This time out, the younger Wonka will be portrayed by Timothée Chalamet.
The Wonka cast also includes Rowan Atkinson, Mathew Baynton, Jim Carter, Olivia Colman, Sally Hawkins, and Keegan-Michael Key. The film is directed by Paul King, who made both of the extremely charming live-action Paddincton films. (King co-wrote the Wonka screenplay with Simon Farnaby.)
There’s no mention in that press release of any musical numbers, which I always thought were the secret ingredient to the Willy Wonka formula. The Mel Stuart Wonka included great songs like “The Candy Man” and “Pure Imagination” and, of course, the Oompa Loompa theme. Per the official press release, Wonka is “an origin story that explores the vivid, mythical beginnings of the imaginative young inventor before he becomes the renowned scrumdiddlyumptious Mozart of chocolate.” That’s good; I’ve always wondered how he made the gobstoppers so everlasting.
Wonka is scheduled to open in theaters on March 17, 2023.