Why Timothée Chalamet’s Wonka is not a musical, the director explained


  • Director Paul King explains that his next film, Wonka, is not a musical, but rather a movie with songs.
  • Chalamet, who plays the title character, has several songs that showcase his “beautiful singing voice”, including larger sequences and more intense moments.
  • In terms of its use of music, the film will be closer to the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory than Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Wonka director Paul King explains why his next film starring Timothée Chalamet won’t be a musical. The prequel to Roald Dahl’s famous book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory stars Wonka as Chalamet as a young pastry chef and chocolatier, recounting one of his first adventures when he meets the Oompa Loompas. The film’s trailers have already suggested that, like previous adaptations, the next film will feature a lot of musical numbers.

Now, ahead of Wonka’s release date later this year, King tells Total Film (via GamesRadar) why, despite the great songs and dance sequences, the film isn’t really a musical. While it may not be a musical, the director anticipates that Chalamet will have several opportunities to show off his singing voice. Here is King’s full comment:

“The Oompa-Loompas sing a lot in the book, and Dahl always uses poetry. But I didn’t want it to just turn into a musical where people sing dialogue to each other for no apparent reason. I felt it was more like a movie with songs than a musical.”

“(Chalamet) has a beautiful singing voice. The person this made me think about was Bing Crosby. There’s a certain range because it goes from a couple of more spectacular things to moments of real, raw emotion, and he can do it all… I think I’m becoming a huge fan of his.”

How will Wonka’s songs differ from past films?

As stated in the Wonka trailer and promotional materials, King’s next film will reference the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in several key ways. Chalamet’s titular character seems closer to Gene Wilder’s interpretation of Wonka than Johnny Depp’s, but the upcoming film also has a more charming and heartfelt tone. Not forgetting the overall visual aesthetic and set design, which seems to reflect elements of director Mel Stewart’s original adaptation.

Since King is also an avowed fan of the film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, it is likely that Wonka uses music in the same way as in the classic 1971 film. This film featured several songs by the Oompa Loompas and Wilder himself. On the other hand, in Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the songs are taken almost entirely from the Oompa Loompas.

A memorable song from the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is Wilder’s “Pure Imagination”, which is arguably one of the most iconic songs from any movie in history. There’s no word yet on whether the song will be featured in Wonka, but Chalamet will apparently have a few notable songs that will showcase his vocal range.

Source: Total Film (via GamesRadar)

Key release dates:

  • Wonka Release Date: December 15, 2023

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