The exciting “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” prequel musical “Wonka” focuses on the early life and adventures of Willy Wonka, the eccentric chocolate factory owner originally created by Roald Dahl in 1964.
It now follows the young man as he battles to establish his first chocolate shop. Director Paul King made it clear that he wasn’t interested in remaking the story but wanted to offer an addition to the scope of the narrative.
Curious to see Willy at a younger age, the Gene Wilder adaptation focuses on two stages of Willy’s life, his childhood and adulthood, revealing that Willy’s father was a dentist who forbade him from consuming chocolate, which was portrayed as the main driving force behind Willy’s decision to establish his chocolate factory.
However, this reimagining scope presents a youthful, aspirational, and gregarious Willy in the transitional period between his rough upbringing and adult form, with, as Timothee Chalamet put it, “a few screws loose.” In this latest movie, Willy is depicted at his most determined and optimistic self yet and clearly shows that there was so much more behind Willy’s inspiration for his chocolate factory than was first believed.
Timothee Chalamet has been referred to as capturing Wonka by beautifully walking the line between naivety and cleverness. King revealed to Rolling Stone that he was a Chalamet “stan” and immediately knew he wanted him for Wonka.
King discovered Chalamet’s singing and dancing abilities on YouTube after watching his old school musicals and knew of his obvious brilliance in his earlier roles.
Chalamet is also joined by other big names such as Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Grant, Rowan Atkinson and Olivia Colman, with Sally Hawkins playing Wonka’s mother. The film also features the talents of Calah Lane, Natasha Rothwell, Matt Lucas and Jim Carter.
Just before the film’s release, we were lucky enough to attend a zoom press conference where we learned more about some of the starring cast, director Paul, and the movie itself.
Providing a further insight into the film, King was asked about the type of Willy he wanted to portray on screen, explaining that he saw Willy as an optimist, who’s hopeful for great things and does not take no for an answer!
Olivia Colman explained that Paul is very collaborative when working; shouting out instructions and letting the cast improvise with their characters.
King underlined that while it was extremely “daunting to tread in the footsteps of a storyteller as great as Roald Dahl” it was great to “stand on his shoulders playing with the ideas he had come up with.”
I think it’s safe to presume that this prequel will capture the magical world Roald Dahl created 59 years ago, but with a new and unique take.
Paul King said it best; this is a film to be enjoyed with family, bringing people closer together and with just one day left until its UK premiere, Wonka is one of the most highly anticipated films of the year. Referenced as “an instant holiday classic,” with Hugh Grant as an Oompa Loompa and the fantastic array of talent, I personally can’t wait to watch it!
Article by: Lucy Plant