Like other derived works, “Wonka,” the upcoming origin story for the character from Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” will include at least one aspect from previous iterations – songs! But don’t call it a musical, at least according to director Paul King (“Paddington”).
“The Oompa Loompas sing a lot in the book, and Dahl always uses poetry. But I didn’t want it to just become a musical where people are singing dialogue to each other for no discernible reason. I felt like it was more like a movie with songs than a musical,” King told Total Film.
With “Wonka,” King and his collaborators are telling the story of a young Willy Wonka (played here by Timothée Chalamet) and how he built his candy-coated empire, complete with a Chocolate Factory. Keegan-Michael Key, Rowan Atkinson, Olivia Colman, Matt Lucas, Sally Hawkins and Hugh Grant (as an Oompa-Loompa) also star.
Even though “Wonka” is not a musical, King heaped praise on Chalamet’s vocal talents, telling Total Film: “[Chalamet]’s got a beautiful singing voice. The person it reminded me of was Bing Crosby. There’s quite a range, because it does go from a couple of bigger, showstopper-y sort of things, to moments of real, pure emotion and he can do it all… I’m going to sound like a crazed fan.”
Warner Bros. currently has “Wonka” scheduled for December 15; they had previously moved another Chalamet-starring blockbuster, “Dune: Part Two,” out of the Thanksgiving corridor and into spring 2024. But as of now, “Wonka” is staying put.
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