The last time moviegoers laid their eyes on Roald Dahl's iconic chocolatier, Willy Wonka, he had the sardonic and mocking features of Johnny Depp. Under the aegis of his mentor Tim Burton, the hero of Pirates of the Caribbean displayed his own version: gothic and frightening. A bit vampiric even. It’s a completely different confectioner that they will discover in Paul King’s family comedy, in theaters on December 13.
On a brief visit to Paris at the beginning of December, the director of Wonka and his stars Timothée Chalamet and Hugh Grant lifted the veil behind the scenes of this return to childhood. Unlimited candy, chocolate bath, tap dancing... Nothing was ordinary hearing their express confidences.
In Wonka, the candy maker has the youthful enthusiasm of Gen Z heartthrob and Dune star Timothée Chalamet. This Willy is just in his twenties. Determined. But not yet eccentric. The hero of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is innocence and naivety itself. His imagination for inventing the most eccentric and delicious chocolates is boundless. The one who has sailed the seas for seven years has only one dream: to make his delights accessible to as many people as possible. Which is not to the taste of the vile cartel of chocolatiers who are ready to do anything to make it fail.
Also read: Timothée Chalamet as a quirky confectioner in the Wonka trailer
At the helm of Paddington's two cracking big-screen adventures, Paul King is a fervent admirer of Roald Dahl and the cult 1971 film starring Gene Wilder. He wanted to return to the sources of this benevolence and wonder with this tale of origins, which also depicts the meeting between Wonka and the shady Oompa-lompas to which Hugh Grant lends his grumpy and pinched side.
A vintage musical comedy, which recalls the aesthetic of 70s productions with almost theatrical settings and wild dance numbers, Wonka demonstrates that Timothée Chalamet knows how to dance and sing perfectly even with a small voice. Fans of Gene Wilder will be able to discover his cover of Pure Imagination arranged by Neil Hannon of the group The Divine Comedy and his collaborator Joby Talbot. And new releases like Hat Full of Dreams. “Wonka is not yet another remake that exploits audience nostalgia for a popular saga or intellectual property like so many Hollywood films do. Paul King’s approach is sincere,” Hugh Grant promises Le Figaro.