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Wonka’s Timothée Chalamet Reveals How He Was Convinced The Prequel Wasn’t A ‘Money Grab’

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Dune star Timothée Chalamet will be donning some big shoes and a top hat cast in the lead role of Wonka. But, the 27-year-old actor actually had some doubts about taking on the role of the famous chocolatier. When you think about the number of upcoming Disney remakes and many other reboots released this year, it’s understandable why Chalamet would be hesitant to play a role that’s been done twice. With this movie being an original prequel, the American-French actor reveals what convinced him that Wonka wasn’t a “money grab” project for him.

After 1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, we got Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which was more of a faithful adaptation of the Roald Dahl book. Both movies gave us glimpses about how Willy Wonka went into the chocolate business, but it would still be nice for audiences to have more of their questions answered about Wonka’s backstory. Wonka lead Timothée Chalamet tells GamesRadar what convinced him that his prequel movie was far from a “money grab” opportunity for him and why audiences should give it a chance. 

Your eyebrows go up with skepticism about [whether] this is a legitimate, worthwhile story or a cynical money grab. But I was reading the first three pages of the script, and the song ‘Hat Full of Dreams’ was in there. And there was no music to accompany it, but the lyrics were so clever. [It’s] about this young Willy, who was definitively not the crazy, cynical, kind of jaded, brain-fried version that we see in the two prior films but was very hopeful, young, ambitious, won’t-take-no-for-an-answer, maybe a little naive. I think that’s very clever.

That’s one benefit of watching a prequel film. You not only gain more backstory about a prominent character, but you learn more about their character’s personality and what motivates their choices. Not to mention, a fun fact to know about Wonka is there will be at least seven original songs with catchy tunes guaranteed to be stuck in your head and keep you on your toes. I’d like to believe each song will unwrap the layers of who Willy Wonka was before he opened up his chocolate emporium. As Wonka director Paul King’s Paddington movies made us feel all warm inside, his work portraying Wonka’s origins should do the trick as well during this holiday season.

If you’ve watched Timothée Chalamet’s high school dance videos, his song-and-dance talents go completely unnoticed. They certainly convinced Paul King that the Call Me By Your Name actor was the right man for the job. Despite his love of the Gene Wilder Willy Wonka film and Fred Astaire movies, the musical theater student was not gunning for his next role to be a musical one. What changed Chalamet’s mind was Paul King who he described as “one of these directors that you don’t say no to.” With all of the energy, color, and brilliance the British writer and director brings to his movies, the Beautiful Boy actor had the right idea to say yes to the project.

Getting to play the younger version of such an iconic character must have been a real honor for Timothée Chalamet. He previously said picking up the Wonka mantle from Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp made him feel out of his league. But, Chalamet liked the idea of playing a character who celebrated all of the unique versions of himself. His character Willy Wonka created a chocolate factory despite opposition, later gaining him an esteemed reputation in society with adults and kids fighting for the chance to eventually see his factory. As the Academy Award nominee was sold by the script of his prequel film, he was apparently swayed that King’s work would bring a special aspect to Willy Wonka in a way audiences have never seen before.

Wonka is not a remake, but a prequel to the Gene Wilder classic we’ve loved for over 50 years. Timothée Chalamet said this was not a “money grab” opportunity to take part in Wonka, but the chance to introduce audiences to an ambitious man with a dream. You can learn about the origins of Willy Wonka in the 2023 movie release playing in theaters on December 15th.  



Dune star Timothée Chalamet will be donning some big shoes and a top hat cast in the lead role of Wonka. But, the 27-year-old actor actually had some doubts about taking on the role of the famous chocolatier. When you think about the number of upcoming Disney remakes and many other reboots released this year, it’s understandable why Chalamet would be hesitant to play a role that’s been done twice. With this movie being an original prequel, the American-French actor reveals what convinced him that Wonka wasn’t a “money grab” project for him.

After 1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, we got Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which was more of a faithful adaptation of the Roald Dahl book. Both movies gave us glimpses about how Willy Wonka went into the chocolate business, but it would still be nice for audiences to have more of their questions answered about Wonka’s backstory. Wonka lead Timothée Chalamet tells GamesRadar what convinced him that his prequel movie was far from a “money grab” opportunity for him and why audiences should give it a chance. 

Your eyebrows go up with skepticism about [whether] this is a legitimate, worthwhile story or a cynical money grab. But I was reading the first three pages of the script, and the song ‘Hat Full of Dreams’ was in there. And there was no music to accompany it, but the lyrics were so clever. [It’s] about this young Willy, who was definitively not the crazy, cynical, kind of jaded, brain-fried version that we see in the two prior films but was very hopeful, young, ambitious, won’t-take-no-for-an-answer, maybe a little naive. I think that’s very clever.

That’s one benefit of watching a prequel film. You not only gain more backstory about a prominent character, but you learn more about their character’s personality and what motivates their choices. Not to mention, a fun fact to know about Wonka is there will be at least seven original songs with catchy tunes guaranteed to be stuck in your head and keep you on your toes. I’d like to believe each song will unwrap the layers of who Willy Wonka was before he opened up his chocolate emporium. As Wonka director Paul King’s Paddington movies made us feel all warm inside, his work portraying Wonka’s origins should do the trick as well during this holiday season.

If you’ve watched Timothée Chalamet’s high school dance videos, his song-and-dance talents go completely unnoticed. They certainly convinced Paul King that the Call Me By Your Name actor was the right man for the job. Despite his love of the Gene Wilder Willy Wonka film and Fred Astaire movies, the musical theater student was not gunning for his next role to be a musical one. What changed Chalamet’s mind was Paul King who he described as “one of these directors that you don’t say no to.” With all of the energy, color, and brilliance the British writer and director brings to his movies, the Beautiful Boy actor had the right idea to say yes to the project.

Getting to play the younger version of such an iconic character must have been a real honor for Timothée Chalamet. He previously said picking up the Wonka mantle from Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp made him feel out of his league. But, Chalamet liked the idea of playing a character who celebrated all of the unique versions of himself. His character Willy Wonka created a chocolate factory despite opposition, later gaining him an esteemed reputation in society with adults and kids fighting for the chance to eventually see his factory. As the Academy Award nominee was sold by the script of his prequel film, he was apparently swayed that King’s work would bring a special aspect to Willy Wonka in a way audiences have never seen before.

Wonka is not a remake, but a prequel to the Gene Wilder classic we’ve loved for over 50 years. Timothée Chalamet said this was not a “money grab” opportunity to take part in Wonka, but the chance to introduce audiences to an ambitious man with a dream. You can learn about the origins of Willy Wonka in the 2023 movie release playing in theaters on December 15th.  

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