A number of actors have stepped into the role of Willy Wonka over the years, playing the role of Roald Dahl’s eccentric candymaker on both stage and screen. If you’re of a certain generation, perhaps you associate Gene Wilder most strongly with the chocolatier — or if you’re younger, maybe Johnny Depp. But now, a new actor has stepped into the role, and audiences finally have their first look at a younger version of the beloved character.
Timothée Chalamet, the latest in a line of actors to play the character, has just revealed our first look at his take on the Dahl favorite, the leading role in Wonka, the prequel film of the same name. Chalamet revealed his young Wonka in a post to Twitter, a behind-the-scenes photo of himself standing behind a camera and looking like something out of a Charles Dickens novel, with a cravat, velvet coat, and the ever-popular Wonka top hat.
Rather than the whimsical purple coat and oversized bow tie of 1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Chalamet’s costume seems to be sticking closer to the aesthetic established in Tim Burton’s 2005 film, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — appropriate, as Wonka is set to serve as both a prequel to and a reboot of the same franchise for Warner Bros. The costume seems a bit less outlandish than its predecessors, and more down to Earth, with muted colors and a well-worn look suggesting this young Wonka has already seen plenty of the world.
Chalamet’s first look comes on the heels of the prequel adding three more cast members just before the beginning of production, including Rowan Atkinson, Sally Hawkins, and Academy Award winner Olivia Colman. The film, set to tell the tale of Wonka’s life before he opened his chocolate factory, has quite the cast, with the three new members joining Keegan-Michael Key, Tom Davis, Simon Farnaby, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Mathew Baynton, Jim Carter, and Rich Fulcher.
Wonka is directed by Paul King, who has plenty of experience in children’s films from his work on the Paddington franchise, and who co-wrote the film’s script with Farnaby. David Heyman is set to produce the film for Heyday Films, alongside Luke Kelly, with executive producers Michael Siegel and Alexandra Derbyshire.
The film is slated for theatrical release on March 17, 2023. Check out the image courtesy of Chalamet below: