In a move that’s sure to ruffle some feathers, Warner Bros has announced that its working on a new film centred on Willy Wonka.
Variety reports that the studio is working with Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts producer David Heyman on the movie, which won’t be another remake of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, but rather “a standalone movie focused on Wonka and his early adventures.” They also point out that “early” doesn’t mean “origin,” so we shouldn’t expect Willy Wonka Begins or anything like that. In fact, we would like to take this opportunity to also discourage titles like Willy Wonka Rising,
Warner Bros acquired the rights to the character from the Dahl family estate after a negotiation that apparently began at the start of this year, and Simon Rich (The Secret Life Of Pets) is currently working on the script. Heyman will be continuing his relationship with the studio, and will produce alongside Dahl estate management Michael Siegel.
Reclusive, eccentric sweets mogul Willy Wonka first appeared in Roald Dahl’s novel Charlie And The Chocolate Factory in 1964 and its 1972 follow-up Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator, and was brilliantly brought to life by the late great Gene Wilder in the 1971 musical film. Johnny Depp played the character in Tim Burton’s 2005 movie, but Wilder remains the definitive take on Wonka for most of us.
With the recent passing of one of comedy cinema’s great icons, there will be those who feel that this announcement hasn’t exactly come at the right time. Wonka is one of Wilder’s most legendary performances and whoever steps into that purple jacket and top hat will be coming under very heavy scrutiny. It’s hard to think of who we’d want but, at the very least, it’s another prompt to go back and revisit his wonderful performance.
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