“Wonka” director Paul King has been open about what drew him to cast Timothée Chalamet as a young version of the whimsical chocolatier: his YouTube videos from when he was in high school.
Any Chalamet fan knows that several videos exist online of the actor singing and dancing pre-fame, including a rap song devoted to the art of statistics and a passionate talent show performance of Nicki Minaj’s “Roman’s Revenge.”
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In an interview with Rolling Stone in July, King admitted that watching the videos was all he needed to cast Chalamet. At the premiere of “Wonka” in London on Tuesday night, Chalamet agreed that the clips “sort of” helped him land the role — but that’s not the whole story.
When asked about the videos by Variety, Chalamet said: “I know, damn… they sort of did, in Paul’s words.”
Laughing, he later added, “That wasn’t exclusively what got me the part. He also liked the other movies I did!”
Meanwhile, King stood by his comments at the premiere, telling Variety: “This being the 21st century, his adolescence is very well-documented on YouTube. I’m so glad to come from a time when that was not the case for me, or I would never be allowed to go out in public again. But he may have just had the edge on me in the singing and acting department.”
And though Chalamet proves his singing and dancing chops in “Wonka,” there’s one thing he doesn’t have in common with the character: his undying love for chocolate.
When asked if he had a favorite chocolate bar, Chalamet said, “Honestly, no.”
“I’m more like a Raisinets guy,” he continued. “I do like chocolate, but I’m more of a chocolate-covered raisins, milk duds, you know… These are the hard-hitting questions!”
Chalamet is the third actor to take on the beloved Roald Dahl character from his 1964 children’s novel “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” In 1971, Gene Wilder embodied Wonka in “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” followed by Depp’s darker interpretation of the role in 2005’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”
Speaking of Wilder, Chalamet called “Wonka” a companion piece to the 1971 film and said he was “hugely” inspired by his take on the role.
“It’s sort of untouchable — it’s like a perfect performance, so this is the accompaniment,” Chalamet said.
The upcoming “Wonka,” set to release on Dec. 15 in the U.S. via Warner Bros., is a musical that tells the origin story of the candyman. Beyond Chalamet, the film stars Hugh Grant, Calah Lane, Keegan-Michael Key, Paterson Joseph, Matt Lucas, Mathew Baynton, Sally Hawkins, Rowan Atkinson, Jim Carter, Tom Davis and Olivia Colman. King also co-wrote the screenplay with Simon Farnaby. The Divine Comedy lead singer Neil Hannon penned the movie’s original songs.
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