Timothée Chalamet is becoming the actor of the moment. He is now the absolute protagonist of Wonka, the prequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. But soon we'll see him in Dune 2 (obviously, he was in the first one with Zendaya) and he'll even be Bob Dylan.
And not only will he play the musician, but he will also sing.
One of the many reasons British director Paul King chose the Call Me By Your Name actor is that he discovered he could sing and dance.
And it seems that it was a lie that Warner Bros. wanted Ryan Gosling, Ezra Miller (the troublesome Flash) or Donald Glover to play the teenage Willy Wonka. Well, Chalamet isn't exactly a teenager (he turns 27 on December 28) and he didn't even have to go through a stage of auditions, reading text, allowing himself to be filmed and photographed.
Johnny Depp and Timothée Chalamet as Willy Wonka. Photos Clarín Archive
Once he was tasked with the prequel, King, director of the two Paddington films, as he considered himself a fan of the actor, was already aware of "his singing and dancing abilities... It was a straight offer because it's great and I was the only person I had in my head to do it. It was either him or it was nobody," King said.
Willy Wonka is a fictional character, created by British writer Roald Dahl for his children's books Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. In the cinema he was played, until now, by Gene Wilder (in 1971) and by Johnny Depp (in 2005).
Gene Wilder, the first Willy Wonka in cinema. The film is from 1971.
Unlike Wonka, Tim Burton tried to use as few special effects as possible in his 2005 version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and shommed in fragments of the chocolatier's childhood: Willy Wonka is the son of a dentist, Dr. Wilburg Wonka (Christopher Lee). Dr. Wonka's obsession with dental hygiene leads him to forbid his son from eating chocolate or some other candy just to eliminate the slightest chance of his son getting cavities.
Some curiosities of Burton's film: Nestlé sent 1,850 kilos of real chocolate bars for the film. The writer Roald Dahl was a guy who hated conceited, spoiled children. You can understand Willy's treatment of four of the five boys who earn their way into the chocolate factory by getting the 5 golden tickets randomly hidden in different chocolate bars.
Roald Dahl is the author of "Charlie...", and "Matilda" and "Jim and the Giant Peach", among other hits.
And more than 900,<> liters of fake chocolate were needed to fill Willy Wonka's entire factory.
If comparisons tend to be odious, every viewer who goes to see Wonka will make their confrontation, first with Johnny Depp, the protagonist of Tim Burton's 2005 film. And some might dare to compare it with the one played by Gene Wilder in 1971.
French-American Timothée Chalamet on the red carpet of "Wonka" in Paris. Photo: AFP
Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka was just as eccentric as Chalamet's, but more cynical and somewhat perverse. He hid behind huge glasses and managed to develop products that were practically impossible, such as ice cream that didn't melt or candy that didn't lose its flavor.
In the original, Slugworth and Fickelgruber are two chocolatiers envious of Willy Wonka's success, and they send spies to steal his secret recipes. In Wonka, King already uses them as two of the three chocolatiers who don't want Willy in his teens to open his chocolate shop in the gallery where his businesses are located.
Depp in "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." How many cocoa bars were used in the filming of Tim Burton's film?
And the Oompa-Loompas? They were originally pygmies (swapped for dwarf hippies in a reissue of the book), who jump from Africa to work in Wonka's factory. Before, in Africa – then Loompalandia, to avoid being accused of being racist for Dahl's slave-like treatment of the Oompa-Loompas. They ate foul-tasting green worms and tried to combine them with red beetles and the bark of the bong-bong tree. What they wanted were cocoa beans. Willy Wonka offered the tribe to move into his factory, as in exchange for working for him, they would receive cocoa beans.
Hugh Grant, annoyed at having multiple cameras in his face.
In Wonka, another story is told: how Willy arrives as a young man on the island where the Oompa-Loompas are, and takes advantage of the fact that one of them, a guardian (Hugh Grant) is asleep, to take several cocoa beans.
In the film released on Thursday, Oompa-Loompa (who no longer looks like Eduardo Duhalde as in Tim Burton's film) arrives to visit Willy, demanding that he pay off his debt. They usually carry sweets magically made by the chocolatier, some of them make those who taste them fly.
Grant "didn't understand if I had to act with my whole body or just my face. I never received a satisfactory answer," he said.
The Four Weddings and a Funeral star blurted out at a press conference that he wasn't too happy during filming, as he had multiple cameras aimed at his face, something necessary for the animators to then digitally remove the rest of his body and leave him with a tiny little body.
"It was like wearing a crown of thorns, very uncomfortable," Grant said. "I made a big fuss about all that, I couldn't have hated it more," and he clarified between jokes that the problems continued throughout the filming, as he didn't understand if he had to act with his whole body or just with his face. "I never received a satisfactory answer," he said. "Frankly, what I did with my body was terrible, and it was all replaced by an entertainer."
The first adaptation of Roald Dahl's children's book, which was published in 1964, was only seven years later, in 1971, when Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the version with Gene Wilder directed by Mel Stuart, was released. Dahl adapted his own book as a screenwriter.
Roald Dahl himself adapted his novel into the first Willy Wonka film.
Dahl is known for being the author of characters as varied as they are engaging, going from little Matilda who suffers to her parents and Chontratoro, the school's principal, to Jim, who found himself with a giant peach. And speaking of giant, he was also the author of The Good Giant Friend, which became one of Steven Spielberg's weakest films. Also hitting theaters in 2020 was The Witches, with Anne Hathaway, directed by Robert Zemeckis, the director of Back to the Future and Forrest Gump. He didn't hit the ground running either, just like Spielberg.
A scene from "Paddington 2", in which the teddy bear was accompanied by Hugh Grant's character, today annoyed with the director of both, Paul King.
"I tried to have darker characters than you'd find in a Paddington movie," King told Rolling Stone. "It's a crueler, more evil world that Willy Wonka finds himself in, because that's the kind of town Charlie grows up in. Unlike Paddington's world, not everyone is likable in Roald Dahl's universe. I was definitely able to play with those grotesque ideas, but I hope I don't harm a child generation."