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Timothée Chalamet Explains How His Wonka Is Different From Gene Wilder & Johnny Depp

Actor Timothée Chalamet describes where his titular character in Wonka fits in with previous versions of Willy Wonka, which were played by Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp. The film has been marketed as an origin story for the character, first introduced in Roald Dahl’s 1964 novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The Willy Wonka prequel movie cast includes Olivia Colman, Hugh Grant, Calah Lane, Sally Hawkins, Rowan Atkinson, Keegan-Michael Key, and Chalamet in the lead role.

With Wonka’s release date on the horizon, Chalamet recently spoke with Entertainment Tonight, discussing his thoughts concerning the upcoming movie’s take on the iconic chocolatier The actor explained how his version of Wonka differs from previous iterations, which were played by Wilder in 1971 and Depp in 2005. Chalamet also shared praise for director Paul King, whose previous works include the beloved Paddington. See Chalamet’s comments below:

Since Wonka was first announced, there has been speculation about which version of the famous chocolatier the origin story would center on. Wilder and Depp’s iterations are both beloved and boast wide fan bases, creating more scrutiny on Chalamet’s take on the character. Officially, King has previously described his appreciation for the 1971 version, stating that he hopes Wonka can be “a companion piece” to it.


That comment from King, along with several references in the initial Wonka trailer, including the visual style of Grant’s Oompa-Loompa, hint that Chalamet is playing a younger version of Wilder’s Willy Wonka. However, Chalamet’s words show that he is quick not to label the upcoming movie as a “retelling,” calling his version “different” from both Wilder’s and Depp’s. While audiences of the 1971 film may be looking forward to seeing a prequel to the beloved tale, it’s clear that, while Chalamet and King hope to pay homage to Wilder’s Wonka, they are focused primarily on bringing their own unique take on the character and film to life.
The first Wonka trailer reveals Timothée Chalamet as the kooky chocolatier, but how does he compare to his predecessors, Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp?

Fortunately, Wonka is already off to a strong start, with first reactions to the film offering high praise for King’s directing, the ensemble cast, and Chalamet’s charismatic lead. Chalamet’s turn as the character has been lauded so far as “charming,” “exceptional,” and “magnetic,” showing his ability to steal the show just as Wilder and Depp did while also paying tribute to the versions that came before. Viewers will be able to form their opinions on how the film stacks up against its predecessors or adds another magical chapter to the Willy Wonka repertoire this coming holidays.

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