LONDON (Reuters): Timothee Chalamet follows in the footsteps of Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp to play Willy Wonka in a new prequel film that looks at how Roald Dahl’s fictional character came to love chocolate.
The first trailer for “Wonka” was released while showing the 27-year-old “Dune” and “Call Me by Your Name” actor playing a younger version of the famed candy maker, discovering cocoa beans, befriending a young orphan girl and dreaming of having his own chocolate store.
The film, out in December, is set before the 1971 movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, starring Wilder as Wonka in an adaptation of Dahl’s beloved 1964 book “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”.
“(‘Wonka’) tells the wild and wonderful story of Willy Wonka… what chocolate means to him and why he’s so driven to become this extraordinary chocolate maker,” Director Paul King said at a press preview of the trailer, adding he wanted to stay “true” to Dahl’s book when writing the script.
“(He) is a very interesting, beguiling character and it seemed really interesting to dive a little deeper into him and try and come up with something that perhaps Roald Dahl might have approved of if he’d ever tried to write a prequel.”
Dahl’s book told the story of impoverished Charlie Bucket, who wins a golden ticket to tour Wonka’s chocolate factory alongside other children – the greedy Augustus Gloop, gum-loving Violet Beauregarde, spoiled Veruca Salt and television addict Mike Teevee.
The new movie sees Wonka arriving in a fictional European city, which is home to master chocolatiers. Like Wilder, and Depp in the 2005 film “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, Chalamet is dressed in Wonka’s top hat and long jacket.
“(Chalamet is) following in some extraordinarily big shoes with the people who’ve played the character before and I think he more than lives up to them,” King said.
“He manages to bring that sort of mayhem and that mischievousness but with a deep emotional grounding.”
The trailer also shows Chalamet’s famous co-stars, including Olivia Colman, Sally Hawkins, Rowan Atkinson and Hugh Grant as an Oompa Loompa.