On Tuesday, audiences got their first look at the prequel film “Wonka” in a new trailer. Due out Dec. 15, the movie is billed in press notes as “an intoxicating mix of magic and music, mayhem and emotion” that tells the story of how Willy Wonka built the candy-making empire seen in Roald Dahl’s 1964 children’s novel “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” as well as its 1971 and 2005 big-screen adaptations.
In addition to Chalamet in the title role, “Wonka” stars Calah Lane, Rowan Atkinson, Olivia Colman, Keegan-Michael Key and Paterson Joseph. Meanwhile, Hugh Grant looks poised to steal the show as an Oompa-Loompa.
Watch the “Wonka” trailer below.
Director Paul King, who co-wrote the “Wonka” screenplay with frequent collaborator Simon Farnaby, appears to have understood just how beloved Dahl’s tale is to readers and moviegoers of a certain age. The trailer’s score, for instance, incorporates a few bars of “Pure Imagination,” the 1971 film’s best-known song.
Still, he and Farnaby had to look beyond the 1964 novel (and its less-esteemed 1972 sequel, “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator”) for material, as Dahl gave few clues about Wonka’s early years in his books. They found their inspiration in the author’s archives, which contained a number of never-published stories and unfinished ideas about the character.
“I love the idea of telling a story where Willy Wonka wasn’t just this magical, admirable, extraordinary, inventive character,” King told Entertainment Weekly, “but where he was actually the emotional heart of the movie.”
King called Chalamet “such a brilliant actor at expressing really deep emotions within the context of a family movie,” saying, “I really don’t think there are many people who could play this role at all.”