Netflix has tapped Taika Waititi to deliver an animated spin on Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” The “Jojo Rabbit” helmer will write, direct, and executive produce two series for the streamer, one based on the world and characters of the 1964 children’s book and the other centered entirely around the Oompa-Loompas, the small-in-stature workers who populate Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
Netflix promises the shows will “retain the quintessential spirit and tone of the original story while building out the world and characters far beyond the pages of the Dahl book for the very first time.” The series mark the beginning of what the streamer calls an extensive partnership between Netflix and The Roald Dahl Story Company, which will include reimagining beloved stories by the late British author, including “Matilda,” “The BFG,” “The Twits,” and more.
Waititi, who most recently offered a twisted-yet-sunny Nazi satire in the Oscar-winning “Jojo Rabbit,” is known for his unique flair. Many know him best for directing Marvel’s “Thor: Ragnarok,” but his indie credits include “Boy,” “Hunt for the Wilderpeople,” and “What We Do in the Shadows.”
“In the words of Willy Wonka himself – we are ‘Delighted! Charmed! Overjoyed!’ with Taika’s appointment on this project. There is something undeniably Wonka-esque about Taika’s creative flair and inimitable sense of humor and we cannot think of anyone more perfectly suited to leading the creative charge on these first of their kind, feature quality Netflix shows,” said Gideon Simeloff, commercial and entertainment director of the Roald Dahl Story Company.
Waititi is keeping busy after his Best Adapted screenplay win last month. He’s also planning to work on an adaptation of the psychedelic graphic novel “The Auteur” for Showtime. He just finished production on Searchlight Pictures’ “Next Goal Wins,” the fact-based story about a soccer coach (Michael Fassbender) who is tasked with turning the American Samoa national team, considered one of the weakest in the world, into an elite squad. Elisabeth Moss, Beulah Koale (“Hawaii Five-0”), and Armie Hammer are also in the cast.
Last year, Waititi signed on to co-write and direct the Apple TV+ pilot of an adaptation of Terry Gilliam’s “Time Bandits.”
The story of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is most widely known through the wacky musical cult-classic 1971 adaptation “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory ” starring Gene Wilder as the candy maker. Other adaptations include video games and a 2005 version by Tim Burton starring Johnny Depp.