Timothée Chalamet is set to star as Willy Wonka in a new Warner Bros. movie that will explore the character’s earlier days, before he became the King of Candy.
Deadline broke the exciting casting news, reporting that Wonka will feature several musical numbers requiring Chalamet to sing and dance onscreen following several months of prep. Collider exclusively reported in January that Warner Bros. was deciding between Chalamet and Tom Holland for the part of young Wonka. Older incarnations of the eccentric confectioner were previously played by Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp.
Paul King (Paddington) will direct from a script he co-wrote with Simon Farnaby, though Simon Rich, Simon Stephenson, Jeff Nathanson and Steven Levenson all had a hand in earlier incarnations of the screenplay. Wonka will be produced by David Heyman, who also produced the Harry Potter movies for Warners in addition to Paddington and its equally beloved sequel. Luke Kelly will also produce the film, which will be executive produced by Michael Siegel and Alexandra Derbyshire.
The origin story will draw inspiration from Roald Dahl‘s classic children’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and focus on Willy Wonka’s youthful adventures prior to opening his world-famous chocolate factory, which means that Charlie Bucket will not be part of this project. It remains unclear whether the Oompa Loompas will make an appearance, though given King‘s experience with the computer-generated character of Paddington, it’s possible that the Oompa Loompas could be CG as well.
Chalamet is a former Oscar nominee who will soon be seen in Denis Villeneuve‘s Dune, which will hit theaters on Oct. 1. He’s also part of the A-list ensembles for Wes Anderson‘s The French Dispatch and Adam McKay‘s Don’t Look Up. Chalamet is attached to play Bob Dylan in James Mangold‘s Going Electric, but Mangold is currently focused on the fifth Indiana Jones movie slated for July 2022, which left the handsome young actor with a gap in his schedule that allowed him to tackle Wonka.
Warner Bros. is slated to release Wonka on March 17, 2023 and I’d bet you an everlasting gobstopper that the studio is hoping this movie will kickstart a franchise. Netflix is also developing a pair of animated series about Willy Wonka with Taika Waititi, though plot details for those projects remain under wraps.