Timothée Chalamet Wants ‘Uncynical Young’ Audiences to Love ‘Wonka’

Timothée Chalamet is riding high on the chocolate river as Willy Wonka.

The “Wonka” star, who showcases his triple threat talents in the “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” prequel musical film, shared with Vogue why he was drawn to take on a reimagining of the beloved Roald Dahl classic.

“To work on something that will have an uncynical young audience, that was just a big joy. That’s why I was drawn to it,” Chalamet told Vogue. “In a time and climate of intense political rhetoric, when there’s so much bad news all the time, this is hopefully going to be a piece of chocolate.”

“Wonka” is directed by “Paddington” helmer Paul King and co-stars Olivia Colman, Keegan-Michael Key, Hugh Grant, Sally Hawkins, Matt Lucas, Rowan Atkinson, Natasha Rothwell, Rufus Jones, and Simon Farnaby, who penned the screenplay. Chalamet’s turn marks the first origin story for the beloved novel adaptation, following the 2005 version of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp in the lead role. Chalamet sings and dances in the musical.

The first trailer for “Wonka” showed the chocolatier challenging a stuffy “chocolate cartel” that refuses to give him a chocolate shop or allow him to enter the candy-making industry. Wonka teams with a young girl who helps him realize his vision and ultimately build the iconic chocolate factory. The film is produced in part by the Roald Dahl Company. 

Chalamet teased at 2023 CinemaCon that “Wonka” is about a “Willy that’s full of joy and optimism and hopes to become the greatest chocolatier of all time,” and diverges from the 1971 portrayal of the character by Gene Wilder.

Chalamet’s co-star Keegan-Michael Key revealed that Chalamet performs seven musical numbers in the film.

“There’s this wonderful effortlessness about how he plays Wonka, not to mention the fact that there’s this hopeful quality that he gives the character, a kind of indomitable quality that he’ll never quit, he’s always up for the next thing,” Key said of Chalamet’s performance. “He’s like, ‘OK, that didn’t work out? We’ll do this and we’ll try something else,’” he said. “And Timothée Chalamet, what can I say? Sacrébleu! This kid, you know, he drips charisma and a wonderful confidence. He’s just a really delicious artist.”

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