I never believed in Santa Claus, but I did believe in the Golden Ticket.
Looking for that coveted piece of paper in every chocolate bar was probably the shared experience of any kid who’s watched “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” For a movie released in 2005, it did a fantastic job at world-building, making our younger selves believe that a pretty place with free unlimited candy and chocolate can exist. As we were so hung up with that fantasy, I guess it never really crossed our minds to dig deeper into Willy Wonka’s origins.
That story’s about to unfold now, though. Enter the upcoming movie musical “Wonka,” prequel of the Roald Dahl classic. As you can see in the newly released trailer, we’ll find out the beginnings of this chocolate magnate, who’s introduced as someone with a dedication level of “I’ve spent the past seven years perfecting my craft.”
The sneak peek offers a quirky and whimsical treatment. There are huge balloons. There’s synchronized happy dancing. Hugh Grant is Oompa Loompa. It’s also a bonus that the movie is slated to drop in December to match the holiday mood, and most likely getting a family movie night-friendly seal of approval. But there’s actually something else I’m more invested in: Timothée Chalamet being young Willy Wonka.
I know it’s been so long since the news of him getting the lead role broke–2021 to be exact—but actually witnessing him embodying this well-defined character in the trailer is doing something to my brain, and I know I’m not the only one (see Twitter).
Timothée, the 27-year-old actor, subject of dreamy Pinterest edits, is now wearing the chocolate mogul’s hat, saying things like “You see, I’m something of a magician, inventor, and chocolate maker,” with so much intention. In an animated and free-spirited fashion, he utters, “So quiet up, and listen down. Nope. Scratch that, reverse it,” (which bows to the “Strike that, reverse it” line in the 1971 “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory”). These things almost contradict the aspects of the Internet’s Cool Guy. Mystery, subtlety, edginess, effortless rizz? Not this time.
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And maybe that’s actually the exciting part. Timothée, who played roles like a charming cannibal, a student revolutionary, a pretentious jerk, a hero in the middle of sandworms, and the Laurie in “Little Women” (Alexa play “Champagne Problems”) in less than seven years, is now on the way to his unapologetically eccentric era—and might further prove how much of a shapeshifter he is.
To add to that, it looks like Timothée’s own origin story was the key to getting Wonka’s origin story in his hands. In an interview with Rolling Stone, “Wonka” director Paul King revealed that the actor didn’t actually need to audition for the lead role. What got the filmmaker sold? His high school rap videos.
“It was a straight offer because he’s great and he was the only person in my mind who could do it,” Paul said. “But because he’s Timothée Chalamet and his life is so absurd, his high school musical performances are on YouTube and have hundreds of thousands of views. So I knew from stanning for Timmy Chalamet that he could sing and dance really well. And I knew that was in his arsenal, but I didn’t know how good he was. When I spoke to him he was quite keen. He’d done tap dancing in high school and he was like, ‘I’d quite like to show people I can do that.’”
Well, there you have it. Timothée’s long-running history has prepared him for this (and he’s already in character online):
HUGHMPA LOOMPA DOOPATY GRANT
— Timothée Chalamet (@RealChalamet) July 11, 2023
Stills from “Wonka’s” official trailer