United Press International reports that production for Wonka has kicked off in the United Kingdom. The film will tell Willy Wonka’s origin story and will star 25-year-old Beautiful Boy and Dune star Timothée Chalamet as the titular character.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Warner Bros. has announced that Rowan Atkinson, Sally Hawkins, and Olivia Colman have also been added to the cast of Wonka. While several other actors are listed, Chalamet’s Willy Wonka is the only specified character. The film will be a prequel to Roald Dahl’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The studio is calling the film “an exploration of the ‘vivid, mythical beginnings of the imaginative young inventor before he becomes the renowned scrumdiddlyumptious Mozart of chocolate.’”
Wonka is being directed by Paddington director Paul King. It will be produced by David Heyman, who was the producer of the Paddington film as well as the Harry Potter series. Heyman had announced the plan for a film about Willy Wonka’s origins back in 2018. Heyman will co-produce the film with Luke Kelly, who produced the 2020 adaptation of Dahl’s novel The Witches. Kelly is also producing an upcoming adaptation of Matilda.
Willy Wonka has been given the silver screen treatment twice in the past. The character has been portrayed by Gene Wilder in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) and Johnny Depp in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005). While the latter film touched on Wonka’s origins in some scenes, this film will take a much more in-depth look at Wonka’s backstory.
Chalamet was cast as Wonka in May. The film’s original shortlist for the role included actors Ezra Miller, Ryan Gosling, and Donald Glover. The film will take a musical approach, with Neil Hannon of the band The Divine Comedy writing original songs for the film.
Wonka is set to be released on March 17, 2023.