Deadline reports that Academy Award nominated actor Timothée Chalamet is set to play the iconic Willy Wonka in origin film Wonka, directed by Paul King, who helmed the first two Paddington movies. Willy Wonka was previously portrayed by Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, respectively.
The screenplay is currently being written by Simon Farnaby, with David Heyman’s Heyday Films producing (the company also produced the Harry Potter and Paddington films). According to Deadline, this will be the first time Chalamet will be able to show off his singing and dancing skills in a theatrical film, which will supposedly chronicle Willy Wonka’s life before he opened his world-famous chocolate factory, featuring several musical numbers, in the vein of Mel Stuart’s 1971 adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel.
No details have been provided for a production start, but the film is aiming for a 2023 release date, which will be the second time Warner Bros. will adapt Willy Wonka’s story on-screen (Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory was initially released by Paramount Pictures, before Warner Bros. acquired the rights to the film), but the first time the material will be completely original, aiming to explore a side of the character you may have not seen (or read) before. With Paul King at the helm and a highly versatile actor playing Willy Wonka, the film already has its recipe (no pun intended) for success and could very well be a great interpretation of a beloved children’s literature character.