In times like this, one must recall the words of Gene Wilder who said “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker”. And darlings, get your glasses ready, because the dreaded reboot river ride won’t be ending anytime soon.
According to a late 2016 report from Variety and their multiple sources, which have gone unnamed, Warner Brothers studios acquired the rights to the “Willy Wonka” IP last year from the Roald Dahl Estate in the interest of a new feature film. A deal that apparently went on for months.
Film Reporter Justin Kroll explained “the film will not be an origin tale, but a standalone movie focused on Wonka and his early adventures”, at the time giving no indication as to who will headline the production. However, courtesy of That Hash Tag Show’s Sarah Musnicky and her own sources, who also go unnamed, it now appears the studio is looking to sign Ryan Gosling, the Oscar nominated dreamboat from Damien Chazelle’s La La Land (2016). Musnicky writes the studio is looking for men “between the ages of 29 and 35”, and that Gosling, 36, has himself expressed interest in the role, however this has not yet been verified.
The direction of the film is unclear at this point, the film still going without so much as a title, but among journalists and fans alike there’s an expectation to see it go the way of Wilder. An all singing and dancing Gosling rarely goes wasted, who I am willing to guess will be creative in a musical-esque reimagining of the role. This supported in their hiring of Simon Rich, the Pixar writer who worked on the Inside Out (2015) team, with Willy Wonka being his first solo written feature.
With this in mind, I can’t imagine them taking the dark and gritty route of 2005’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, that Tim Burton/Johnny Depp clown car of creepy that many, including myself, have likened to a misadventure with a chocolate craving Michael Jackson, where the crotch grabbing dance moves are implied yet the goosebumps still find their way through your body. However, I trust audiences not to rule that possibility out, given Warner Brothers’ track record for the dark and gritty in Snyder’s DCEU and Alfonso Cuarón’s influence on the Harry Potter series.
And wouldn’t you know, according to The Independent, it’s actually Harry Potter producer David Heyman who will be overseeing the Willy Wonka project. Working alongside Michael Siegal, manager of the Roald Dahl estate and executive producer on Steven Spielberg’s The BFG (2016), and executive producer Kevin McCormick of the oh so memorable Gangster Squad (2013). All under the guise of Mad Max Fury Road’s (2015) own production president Courtenay Valenti and no director as of this time. To pinpoint what this movie could be is not the easiest of things, that’s for sure.
Willy Wonka has no release date, but Gosling’s latest feature Blade Runner 2049, will release in Australian cinemas and worldwide on 5 October 2017.