‘Wonka’ Director Paul King Says It’s Not a Musical: ‘It Was More Like a Movie With Songs’

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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