The first trailer for Wonka, starring Timothée Chalamet as the Roald Dahl character Willy Wonka, has landed.
The prequel movie, which is released in cinemas on December 15, is “based on the character at the centre of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl’s most iconic children’s book”, an official synopsis reads.
The trailer dives into the early origins of Wonka, the fictional founder and proprietor of the world-famous chocolate factory. In it, he experiments with magical sweets such as Hoverchoc – and meets the quirky inhabitants of a town where the chocolate trade is monopolised by a small group of master craftsmen. Watch the trailer in full above.
Earlier this month, NME attended a Q&A at London’s Ham Yard Hotel where Wonka writer and director Paul King provided more insight into the film and its previously “unknowable” character. King, who said that he was a childhood fan of Dahl’s work – particularly the 1964 novel in question – relished the opportunity “to come up with something that perhaps Roald Dahl would have approved of”.
He added: “I’d sort of forgotten how incredibly moving [Charlie And The Chocolate Factory] is. It’s got this sort of deep Dickensian heart, this almost Oliver Twist–type character.”
King said that his research made him realise how much he favours “these sort of big, comic, grotesque characters” but ones who have a “really strong emotional core in the stories that I make”, reinforcing his view that he’s been a good fit to helm the project.
Wonka, he said, is about the inventor “coming to the chocolate city of the world” to try and make it big as a magician, inventor and chocolatier. Willy meets an orphaned girl there called Noodle (played by Calah Lane) and together they “make an unlikely alliance to change the world”.
King added that Chalamet is perfect for the role of Willy, describing him as “the most incredible actor of his generation” who is “emotionally intuitive”, “very funny” and an actor who can sing and dance well, which was required for the film.
The city’s aesthetic has a “European vibe”, King added, which was inspired by some of the locations used in the 1971 film Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory.
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“I really wanted to make a sort of companion piece to the [original] 1971 Gene Wilder [film adaptation],” King said. Due to the movie being in production during COVID, King and his crew had to “build the city” from the ground up, using fewer locations and getting creative with practical effects.
King continued: “Roald Dahl loves to work with these sort of storybook images and so it’s very nice to be able make a storybook world for those characters to sit in where hopefully the whole thing feels like a cohesive whole rather than magic dropped onto a sort of more mundane world.”
The filmmaker added that “to be able to try and walk in those shoes” was a “daunting task” but that it was also “a real privilege” to explore what Dahl might have written as a follow-up to Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.
Elsewhere, King said that he admired Chalamet for sticking with such a “huge commitment” because the shoot was “very long” and required lots of singing and dancing. Principal shooting began in the UK in September 2021.
In response to Q&A host Edith Bowman suggesting that the young actor may have been tempted to put on a superhero suit, King praised Chalamet for accepting “leaky old leather boots” and doing “some tap-dancing” instead.
In other Wonka news, earlier this year it was revealed that Chalamet got stomach cramps on set after eating “too much chocolate”.
Wonka differentiates from previous film adaptations Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory (1971) and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (2005), which both followed the same narrative as laid out in the novel.
The films saw the character of Wonka played by Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp, respectively.