You really wouldn’t need to know that Wonka was written and directed by Paddington filmmaker Paul King before the trailer gave the game away. Not only is it brimming with a similar visual style, it’s got the same soft heart, and a slew of Paddington cast members (including Sally Hawkins, Simon Farnaby, and Hugh Grant as the orange head on a CGI Oompa Loompa body). Only this time, Timothée Chalamet is the bear.
Here’s the official synopsis:
“Based on the extraordinary character at the center of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl’s most iconic children’s book and one of the best-selling children’s books of all time, Wonka tells the wondrous story of how the world’s greatest inventor, magician and chocolate-maker became the beloved Willy Wonka we know today.”
Releasing on December 15th, only a month after Chalamet stars as an epic worm-riding sci-fi hero in Dune Part Two, the film sees him taking on the magenta coat of the iconic chocolatier made famous cinematically by Gene Wilder. It also stars Calah Lane (This Is Us), Keegan-Michael Key, Matt Lucas, Matthew Baynton, Jim Carter, Olivia Colman, and Rowan Atkinson. Essentially a stellar lineup of British comedic actors and the frenetic wonder of Keegan-Michael Key.
The obvious debate here is whether Chalamet’s performance will be worthy of the Wilder legacy. He’s undoubtedly got the chops to be weird, and wiry, and belt it out, but the most difficult line to hear in the trailer was “Scratch that. Reverse it,” because it evokes that memory too strongly. Hopefully, Chalamet will be able to step out of that tall shadow, make the role his own, and maybe feed a marmalade sandwich to a cameo star.