Timothée Chalamet is our next Willy Wonka. In January, it was reported that Chalamet was in consideration along with Spider-Man actor Tom Holland to star in Wonka, a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory prequel that will follow a "young Willy Wonka and his adventures prior to opening the world's most famous chocolate factory." Per a new report by Deadline, Chalamet has now officially signed on for the part.
Paul King is directing Timothée Chalamet as Wonka using a screenplay co-written with Simon Farnaby; previous versions of the script were worked on by Simon Rich, Simon Stephenson, Jeff Nathanson, and Steven Levenson. David Heyman will produce under his Heyday Films banner alongside Luke Kelly, and Michael Siegel will executive produce.
A Warner Bros. project, this will be the third movie adaptation to be released in theaters by the studio. The original movie version, based on the Roald Dahl novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was called Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Directed by Mel Stuart, it was released in 1971 and starred legendary actor Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, an eccentric candy salesman hosting a special tour of his factory for anyone who finds a golden ticket. A timeless classic, the movie was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2014.
Tim Burton would later take a crack at the franchise with the 2005 movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. This take starred Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka and also featured Freddie Highmore, Helena Bonham Carter, and Christopher Lee. It featured a similar story as the other incarnations, but with the unique visual stylings we would expect from a Burton movie. It was a hit at the box office and has its own fan following.
Still, there are many fans who will always prefer the original. When the news of the Wonka movie was announced, some fans took to Twitter to express their disappointment, insisting that nobody could ever match Gene Wilder in the role of Willy Wonka. There were also many fans of the Tim Burton movie expressing similar sentiments over Johnny Depp's portrayal. It's important to keep in mind that Wonka will be a prequel with a much younger version of the character, so this should help Chalamet in making this incarnation of the candymaker his own.
This won't be the first time Chalamet has followed in Depp's footsteps. In a Super Bowl commercial that also featured Winona Ryder reprising her role from Edward Scissorhands, Chalamet played the son of Depp's character from that classic Tim Burton movie. Of course, Wonka isn't quite the same thing, as it's going to be the same character Depp played, but in a separate cinematic universe.
Should Wonka be successful, this could turn into a new franchise for Chalamet as well. The movie will reportedly mark the first time he really gets to show off his singing and dancing skills as Wonka includes several musical numbers. According to the January report, Wonka has been set to release in theaters on March 17, 2023, by Warner Bros. In the meantime, fans can look forward to seeing Chalamet in Dune when that movie is released on Oct. 1, 2021. This news comes to us from Deadline.