Comedian Keegan Michael Key is joining the cast of Wonka, the upcoming musical prequel that will explore the early life of Willy Wonka. He will be starring alongside Timothee Chalamet, who has been casted as the chocolate pioneer himself. Paul King is directing the film and is co-writing the screenplay with Simon Farnaby.
So far, there are no official plot details but Wonka is expected to be a prequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and will explore the childhood of Wonka and how he became the acclaimed chocolatier we now know.
Chalamet is the third actor to portray the bizarre, but charming character of Willy Wonka. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971) was directed by Mel Stuart and starred Gene Wilder in the role of Wonka. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) was directed by Tim Burton and featured Johnny Depp taking on the role of Wonka. Both of these films are based on the classic novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, written by Roald Dahl. These movies were also both musicals with songs sung by both the cast and the Oompa Loompa characters. There is also a Broadway musical adaptation of this famous novel with the same name.
The story of the novel focuses on Charlie Bucket, a kid in a struggling family who is lucky enough to find a rare golden ticket in a Wonka chocolate bar. Joining a small group of other winners, Charlie and his grandpa go on a tour of the chocolate factory hosted by Wonka himself. However, throughout the journey, strange things begin to happen to the disobedient children who can’t control themselves throughout the tour as Wonka has a hidden motive for why he’s offering this opportunity.
Key’s role in Wonka hasn’t been revealed yet as little is known about Wonka thus far. Key has been busy with some other musical projects including Netflix’s The Prom, Netflix’s Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, and the Apple TV Plus musical series Schmigadoon. Key gained fame from the sketch comedy series, Key & Peele, which he starred in alongside Jordan Peele. Some of Keys upcoming projects include Disney’s Pinocchio remake and a Netflix comedy called The Bubble.
Timothée Chalamet is only 25 but has already etched out a fantastic career, including an Academy Award nomination for his performance in Call Me By Your Name. Fans of Chalamet can catch him in Dune, debuting in theaters and on HBO Max on Oct. 22. He has a busy second half of 2021 as, along with Dune, Chalamet will be appearing in Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch and Adam McKay’s Don’t Look Up.
Director King has experience with adapting children’s literature as he directed both Paddington & Paddington 2. Both of these films received massive amounts of praise from both critics and audiences. David Heyman, who produced all eight Harry Potter films, will be the producer for Wonka.
Wonka, which is being distributed by Warner Bros., will be coming to theaters on March 17, 2023. There will certainly be more official information to come out as we get closer to this film’s release. This story originated at Variety.