Director Paul King has created a minor miracle with the Paddington films. Based on the classic books, these movies have brought kindness and cleverness back to the forefront of children’s films (a relief after offerings like The Emoji Movie), providing entertainment for families that delight across generations. Paddington 2 is currently the highest rated movie in the history of Rotten Tomatoes, so what I’m saying is you should go see it immediately.
With that in mind, digest this news: according to The Hollywood Reporter, King is currently in final negotiations to adapt Willy Wonka, a “reimagining” of Roald Dalh’s classic novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, for Warner Brothers. SNL writer Simon Rich is working on the screenplay, and David Heyman is set to produce. Heyman told /Film a bit about the project and dropped the “origin story” bomb.
“It’s not a remake. They’ve done two films, quite different. But it’s possibly an origin story. We’re just in the early stages of it, working with a writer called Simon Rich, which is wonderful…I think there’s a lot in his character that suggests who he is and also where he might come from or what his childhood or his middle age might have been like. So we’re exploring that. We’re discussing it. We’re in the very early stages and very excited about what lies ahead.”
While Warner Brothers is obviously thinking franchise, the involvement of King is certainly reason to be interested. The director was also extensively involved with the British cult classic show The Mighty Boosh, so he might have the right sensibility to make a truly strange and wonderful Wonka, despite the prevalence of remake fatigue.
Additionally, this is not the only Dahl project that Warner Brothers has in the oven: Oscar nominee Guillermo del Toro has written a script for The Witches, with Robert Zemeckis being pursued to direct a film that will surely traumatize a whole new generation of kids.