Timothée Chalamet Will Play Willy Wonka in an Origin Story

Timothée Chalamet and Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka
Photos courtesy of Getty Images and IMDb

Timothée Chalamet’s most recent films, Dune and The French Dispatch, may have been delayed for months, but that hasn’t stopped the actor from staying booked and busy. Monday brought news that Chalamet will soon become the latest to portray Willy Wonka, the eccentric known for sporting a purple velvet blazer from Roald Dahl’s 1964 children’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The original story centers around Charlie Bucket, one of five to find a golden ticket in a Wonka chocolate bar that wins him a tour of the factory and a lifetime supply of chocolate.

The film is being directed by Paul King, who has become best known for his critically adored Paddington movies. Though, King first broke through by directing every episode of the cult British comedy show The Mighty Boosh, suggesting he has the right mix of off-beat flair but family-friendly instincts for the franchise.

Funnily enough, Chalamet has a personal connection to Wonka’s most recent cinematic portrayer: Johnny Depp is the father of Chalamet’s long-rumored girlfriend, Lily-Rose Depp. Before Tim Burton’s 2005 take on the tale, there was of course the 1971 adaptation starring the late Gene Wilder. And while Dahl eventually disowned it for focusing on Wonka, rather than Bucket, the upcoming adaptation leaves out Bucket entirely, centering on Wonka’s backstory.

Since Dahl never delved into Wonka’s origins, Chalamet’s storyline remains up in the air. If the plot dwells on how Wonka first comes to open his factory, filmmakers will have to contend with how to handle its staffers, the Oompa Loompas. (Wonka describes them as “miniature pygmies” he “imported directed from Africa” in the original 1964 children’s novel by Roald Dahl.)

According to Deadline, Chalamet will make his first stab at singing and dancing on film. That certainly makes it stand apart from the rest of his latest projects, starting with Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, which will finally premiere at this year’s Cannes Film Festival in July. It’s a good year for fans of Chalamet: Denis Villeneuve’s long-delayed adaptation of the sci-fi novel Dune premieres in October of this year.

There’s more coming up for Chalamet, too. He’s among the many, many celebrities who recently wrapped filming Don’t Look Up, Adam McKay’s upcoming dark comedy that Netflix will release later this year. (It stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence as two astronauts trying to stave off the apocalypse.) And perhaps most excitingly for the actor’s fans, Chalamet is set to reunite with Call Me By Your Name’s Luca Guadagnino. The film, titled Bones & All, marks Guadagnino’s return to the horror genre: Chalamet’s costar, Taylor Russell, plays a character on the quest to figure out why she’s a cannibal.