Before people even saw a single frame of it, the upcoming Wonka movie somehow became a meme – and not necessarily in a flattering way. Who, the internet seemed to cry out, actually wants to see a film about the young days of Roald Dahl’s master chocolatier? Well, strap in – because, going by the trailer, several people are now going to be adding themselves to that very list, going from naysayers to yay-sayers. It shouldn’t come as a surprise – look beyond the initial IP recognition factor, and there are several supremely talented people involved here. Not only Timothée Chalamet, who’s donning the top hat as Willy Wonka himself – but Paddington and Paddington 2 director Paul King, who also writes in another team-up with Simon Farnaby. Admit it, you’re intrigued. Watch the trailer here.
Doesn’t that look sweet, delicious, and a little bit unexpected? Everything a Wonka confection should be. The film looks to explore Chalamet’s Willy Wonka as he tries to make a name for himself, the young upstart in a world of stuffy established chocolatiers – with the help of Calah Lane’s Noodles. There’s a cast of Brit comedy favourites here as well – not just Olivia Colman and Mathew Baynton, but Paterson Joseph and Rowan Atkinson too. And, for anyone sad to miss her in the upcoming Paddington In Peru, Sally Hawkins is included here as Wonka’s mother. Wonka also seems to be picking up the musical baton from where Paddington 2’s credit scene left off, with large-scale song-and-dance numbers in the mix. If the air of British whimsy in the trailer calls to mind the likes of Paddington and Harry Potter, then you won’t be shocked to learn that the film is produced by Paddington and Potter producer David Heyman, under his Heyday Films banner.
Shall we talk about the orange and green elephant in the room, then? There’s an Oompa-Loompa here, with a similar look to the ones in the 1971 Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. Except this one’s played by… Hugh Grant?! How’s that for a bit of pure imagination. Surely, it has to be one of the wildest casting choices of 2023 – and given how well he and King worked together on Paddington 2, we could be in for another brilliantly bonkers performance from Grant in this carefully-curated, anything-goes phase of his career.
Can King make all the flavours combine? Will he create something that becomes as beloved as his own Paddington 2, or the ’71 Willy Wonka? Will we be seeing Hugh Grant’s Oompa-Loompa in our nightmares? At least one of those is a guaranteed yes – fingers crossed, the other two will be too. We’ll find out when Wonka hits the big screen on 15 December.