June 6, 2018
Donald Glover is the Candyman We Need at the Center of Another ‘Willy Wonka’ Remake
There is no earthly way of knowing, which direction they are going…
There’s no knowing where they’re rowing, and no Slugworth can stop this boat from docking into your local theater. Roald Dahl’s classic “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” has already faced two adaptations, and a third one is gearing up its preproduction.
Earlier this year, we reported that Paddington 2 director, Paul King, has been selected to helm another take on Willy Wonka. The producers are not interested in a remake, or a tweaked adaptation. Waaaaaay back in 2016, Variety learned that this new movie was set to be an origin story, not focusing on the hermetic years of Wonka, but on his early adventures building his chocolate empire. Where exactly is Loompaland, anyway?
Prequels are tricky animals, and I doubt many of us are aching to see the connective tissue that binds Wonka to the Oompa Loompas, or how Slugworth became his trusty double agent. Depending on the answers, the property’s fandom can swing pretty wildly from joy to rage. As is always the case, the talent behind the camera will be key, and as our own Sherly Oh suggested in February, we should be a little excited simply based on screenwriter Simon Rich (Inside Out) and Paul King’s involvement.
Well, now we’ve got a few more reasons to ease up on our anti-remake stance. Collider suggests that King and company are close to finding their Wonka. On their shortlist of actors are Donald Glover, Ryan Gosling, and Ezra Miller. The suspense is terrible…I don’t want it to last.
Gene Wilder left behind some massive shoes to fill. While Ezra Miller certainly has heaps of the nervous energy that fuels the more nightmarish aspects of Wonka’s personality, I imagine the result would not be much different than what Tim Burton got out of Johnny Depp in the 2005 film. Ryan Gosling has the swagger and the creepy-cool that lifts Wonka above the average American male. He also has the lust of a song-and-dance-man that is required to dazzle your “Pure Imagination.” The Gosling Wonka is easy to picture and I doubt would disappoint.
Donald Glover has to be the guy though. Once you hear his name as a contender, you can’t unthink the possibilities. Glover has the nervous energy, the swagger, the creepy-cool, and that song-and-dance-man lust. He also has the proven track record of easily stepping into the soul of an iconic character and delivering a magical new take. Whatever your thoughts on Solo: A Star Wars Story, there is no denying Glover’s mastery over Lando Calrissian. Give that man all the spin-offs he can muster.
Glover is having a moment. With Lando, “This is America,” Atlanta, and the upcoming Lion King adaptation, the actor pretty much has his Golden Ticket to Hollywood. If you are a producer or a director, it is on you to get this man in your project, and I am sure that King and Warner Bros. are doing everything they can to convince him to be a part of their Wonka. Paddington has already guaranteed my investment in this new iteration, but Glover would go a long way in persuading even the most skeptic of remake-snobs.
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