Moviegoers will have to wait until next year to see Timothée Chalamet save the universe — with the release date for Dune: Part Two pushed to 2024 — but in the meantime, they'll get to see the Oscar-nominated actor take on something completely different with Wonka, in which he stars as the iconic chocolatier.

"To work on something that will have an uncynical young audience, that was just a big joy. That's why I was drawn to it," Chalamet told Vogue. "In a time and climate of intense political rhetoric, when there's so much bad news all the time, this is hopefully going to be a piece of chocolate."

Wonka hails from Paddington writer-director Paul King, who is no stranger to adapting beloved literary characters for the big screen. Taking inspiration from Roald Dahl's 1964 children's book, Charlie and Chocolate Factory, the filmmaker sees Wonka as "a companion piece" to the Oscar-nominated 1971 movie adaptation, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.

What is 'Wonka' about? 

It's Willy Wonka's origin story, showing how he became the enigmatic chocolate factory owner played by Gene Wilder in the 1971 film. Here, Chalamet plays Willy in his younger years, as he takes on the all-powerful Chocolate Cartel in order to open his first sweets shop. And, just as Wilder did before him, Chalamet will sing.

Here's the official synopsis:

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'Wonka' tells the wondrous story of how the world’s greatest inventor, magician and chocolate-maker became the beloved Willy Wonka we know today... This irresistibly vivid and inventive big screen spectacle will introduce audiences to a young Willy Wonka, chock-full of ideas and determined to change the world one delectable bite at a time — proving that the best things in life begin with a dream, and if you're lucky enough to meet Willy Wonka, anything is possible.

For King, the hope is that Wonka is able to build on the legacy of Mel Stuart's 1971 film. "What I wanted this movie to be was like a companion piece to that movie," he told Entertainment Weekly. "If you imagine those people in that world 25 years earlier, that was my starting process. Eventually, he would grow into that person and that factory."

When does this film come out? 

Warner Bros. will release Wonka in theaters on Dec. 15, 2023. 

Is there a trailer?

There are two, and you can watch them both now:

Who is in the movie? 

Chalamet, of course, portraying the literary figure at the heart of the film, Willy Wonka. Chalamet received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in 2017's Call Me by Your Name, but King says it was the actor's unearthed talent show videos that inspired him to cast Chalamet.

"He was the only person in my mind who could do it," King told Rolling Stone. "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.'"

Although Wonka is not a proper musical, the film does contain multiple musical numbers, and King says that Chalamet has "the voice of an angel." "The person it reminded me of was Bing Crosby," the director told Total Film Magazine. "There's quite a range, because it does go from a couple of bigger, showstopper-y sort of things, to moments of real, pure emotion. And he can do it all."

Hugh Grant, who played the villain in Paddington 2, reunited with the director to play an Oompa-Loompa, while Paddington star and Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine and The Shape of Water) co-stars as Willy Wonka's mother. Meanwhile, Oscar winner Olivia Colman (The Favourite) appears as one of the movie's villains.

Newcomer Calah Lane stars as a girl named Noodle, who becomes a loyal ally to Willy. Wonka's cast also includes Keegan-Michael Key, Natasha Rothwell, and Rowan Atkinson, as well as Matt Lucas, Mathew Baynton and Paterson Joseph as Chocolate Cartel members Mr. Prodnose, Mr. Fickelgruber, and Mr. Slugworth, respectively.


Who's behind the scenes?

British filmmaker Paul King wears multiple hats on Wonka, as the film's director and co-writer. King wrote the screenplay with Simon Farnaby, with whom he had previously penned 2017's Paddington 2.

Behind the scenes, the film continues King's most fruitful collaborations from Paddington: Three-time Oscar nominee David Heyman serves as one of the film's producers (alongside Alexandra Derbyshire and Luke Kelly). Heyman produced both Paddington movies, and earned his Oscar nominations for producing the Best Picture nominees Gravity (2013), Marriage Story (2019), and Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood (2019). Mark Everson reunites with King as editor of Wonka, while Oscar winner Lindy Hemming (2000's Topsy-Turvy) is the costume designer.

New additions to King's crew include six-time Oscar-nominated production designer Nathan Crowley and cinematographer Chung-hoon Chung, whose resume includes such acclaimed work as Park Chan-wook's films Oldboy (2003) and The Handmaiden (2016).



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