There’s no golden ticket needed for Warner Bros. The studio is finally going ahead with its origin story for Roald Dahl’s mysterious, marvellous confectionary king in Wonka, which is celebrating the beginning of production by casting what feels like half of England in the process.
In a new release provided to press today, Warner Bros. announced that production has begun in the UK on Wonka, which they describe as “an origin story that explores the vivid, mythical beginnings of the imaginative young inventor before he becomes the renowned scrumdiddlyumptious Mozart of chocolate.” Seems a bit overboard, but equally overboard is the announcement of a massive cast to join Dune and Call Me By Your Name’s Timothée Chalamet, who will play the titular chocolatier in a script penned by Paul King with his Paddington 2 partner, Simon Farnaby (the latest in a long line of drafts from writers Simon Rich, Simon Stephenson, Jeff Nathanson, and Steven Levenson).
Farnaby will also appear in the film, alongside — deep breath — Mr. Bean icon Rowan Atkinson, and The Crown’s queen of England and queen of our hearts Olivia Colman, as well as Mathew Baynton, Jim Carter, Richard Fulcher, Paterson Joseph, Colin O’ Brien, Natasha Rothwell, Rakhee Thakrar, Ellie White, and Keegan-Michael Key. The other half of the cast is a veritable Paddington reunion — aside from Farnaby himself, fuzzy bear alumni in Wonka includes Tom Davis, The Shape of Water’s Sally Hawkins, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, and Matt Lucas.
The connections don’t stop there, either: behind the cameras, editor Mark Everson and costume designer Lindy Hemming also return from the Paddington films, alongside director of photography Seamus McGarvey and production designer Nathan Crowley, with the Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon providing original songs for the film.
At that point, maybe they should’ve just brought Paddington himself along for the ride, but maybe there’s enough going off in Wonka’s future factories that you don’t need him. He’d prefer marmalade to chocolate, anyway. Wonka is currently set to release in theatres March 17, 2023.