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Timothée Chalamet Set to Star as Willy Wonka in Origin Story from ‘Paddington’ Director

Paul King's film will focus on a young Willy Wonka, before he opened his famed chocolate factory.

Timothee Chalamet arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

Timothee Chalamet

Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

Timothée Chalamet is headed to the land of pure imagination, as the Academy Award-nominated actor has just been cast as a young Willy Wonka in a new origin story film from Warner Bros. and the Roald Dahl Company. According to Deadline, while the film is based upon the characters originally created by Roald Dahl in his novel (that also inspired the 1971 film from Mel Stuart), this one will focus on a young Willy Wonka before he opened his famed chocolate factory. Warner Bros. confirmed to IndieWire a release date is currently set for March 17, 2023.

The film will be directed by Paul King (the director of “Paddington” and “Paddington 2”) from the screenplay he wrote with Simon Farnaby (picking up from prior writers including Simon Rich, Simon Stephenson, Jeff Nathanson, and Steven Levenson). Farnaby previously wrote the screenplay for “Paddington 2.” David Heyman is producing via his Heyday Films. Luke Kelly is also producing, with Michael Siegel and Alexandra Derbyshire executive-producing.

This latest revamp of the Willy Wonka story will mark the third time Warner Bros. has adapted the Roald Dahl novel “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” for the big screen. The original 1971 movie starred Gene Wilder as the beloved chocolatier. Then there’s the 2005 version “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” directed by Tim Burton, and starring Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka.

Per the Deadline story, Charlie Bucket will not be featured in this latest version from director Paul King. However, it’s reported that Chalamet will get to show off his singing and dancing skills in the various musical numbers featured throughout the film. “He’s been the top choice for some time but scheduling was a hurdle that had to be overcome as training for those numbers is included in the prep for this film,” according to Deadline.

Chalamet is coming up on a big fall thanks to the long-awaited arrival of Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” in theaters and on HBO Max this coming October. He also stars in Wes Anderson’s “The French Dispatch,” which is rumored to be premiering at the Cannes Film Festival this July, which a release later this year from Searchlight Pictures. He also has a role in Adam McKay’s “Don’t Look Up” over at Netflix. He is also set to reunite with “Call Me By Your Name” director Luca Guadagnino for his new film “Bones & All” opposite Taylor Russell.

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