Timothée Chalamet will play a young Willy Wonka in a new prequel

He’s set to take the lead in an origin story from Paddington director Paul King.


Charles Bramesco


Timothée Chalamet is an actor of great versatility, or at least that’s what his recent résumé would have us believe. He broke out in 2017 as a moody, intense heartthrob in Lady Bird and a moody, intense lovelorn teen in Call Me By Your Name, then had a banner 2019 as a moody, intense Prince Hal in The King and a moody, intense gentleman caller in Little Women.

He’ll presumably bring his moody intensity and intense moodiness to the unexpected role of Willy Wonka, in light of today’s announcement that he’ll portray the candy magnate in a new film from Paddington 2 director Paul King. According to Deadline’s exclusive, he’ll appear as Wonka in his younger years for an origin story of sorts, a premise that immediately invites a few different lines of questioning.

Right off the bat, those familiar with the source text from Roald Dahl’s novels will wonder if the film will dare explore Wonka’s origins as an imperialist slave driver, gone to Africa to capture and relocate the Oompa Loompa population whose labor would prop up his sugary empire. While the films with Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp elided this much, Dahl made sure to canonically specify that Wonka had taken up the so-called “white man’s burden”.

Alternately, will the CGI ghost of Christopher Lee return to reprise his role of Wonka’s father, as shown in the Tim Burton movies? On both counts, the answer is most likely ‘no,’ though one thing that has been confirmed is that Chalamet will get to show off his singing and dancing skills in a professional capacity for the first time, so, you win some and you lose some.

Details of plot are still up in the air, though the Deadline item does mention that good old Charlie Bucket will not have a presence in the new film, with Wonka taking center stage. Either way, we’re bound for a return to the world of pure imagination.

Published 24 May 2021

Tags: Paul King Timothée Chalamet

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