Keegan-Michael Key Joins Timothée Chalamet in ‘Wonka’

After the success of his AppleTV+’s comedy musical series Schmigadoon, Keegan-Michael Key is said to have signed on for Wonka, Deadline reported. The movie is the origin story for Roald Dahl’s popular character Willy Wonka, who later went on to establish the world’s most famous chocolate factory.

The Emmy-winning actor is the second announcement as far as the cast of the movie is considered. The first one was Call Me By Your Name actor Timothée Chalamet.

Keegan-Michael Key, in a blue jacket and white shirt, at the Entertainment Weekly Pre-SAG celebration in 2020.
Keegan-Michael Key | Rodin Eckenroth/WireImage

Details about Key’s role in the film have not been revealed

Which character Key will play in the movie, has not been revealed. Key burst into the world of television with his sketch series with Jordan Peele, Key & Peele between 2012 and 2015. He has played several roles in films from Pitch Perfect 2 to Toy Story 4. Widely regarded as a comedian, his recent musical comedy series Schmigadoon has been widely appreciated by both his fans and critics.

The movie will star Chalamet as Willy Wonka, the owner of the world’s biggest chocolate factory, Deadline reported earlier. After multiple scheduling conflicts, Chalamet finally said yes to the movie. 

A first commercial franchise lead for Chalamet, the movie will also give Chaalmt a chance to showcase his singing and dancing talents. Reportedly, the movie might also be a musical or at least have some musical numbers in it, for which Chalamet has been given time to prepare. That should not be a problem for Key, who was also seen in Netflix’s musical The Prom last year.

The movie will be treated as the origin story of Wonka and the prequel to the 2005 film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It will reportedly revolve around a young Wonka and his adventures. It will focus on Wonka’s journey before the chocolate factory came along. 

Chalamet will step in big ‘Wonka’ shoes

As the titular character for the movie, Chalamet will step in shoes left behind by famous actors like Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp.

Both the actors played the role of Wonka in two separate movies. While Wilder played the role in the 1971 movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Depp stepped in in 2005 to play the role in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Wilder got fantastic reviews for his role as Wonka, but Depp’s version divided the critics and audiences of the movie.

With a new iteration, a different story, and a new face to the popular inventor and chocolate maker’s character, this might change.

A noted difference from the other movies based on Dahl’s characters is going to be the absence of Charlie Bucket. Bucket is the protagonist and one of the five kids in the chocolate factory in Dahl’s two novels Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.

What else do we know about the film?

Paul King will direct the movie based on the screenplay that he wrote with Simon Farnaby. Though the screenplay has been tinkered with by many writers in the past like Simon Rich, Simon Stephenson, Jeff Nathanson, and Steven Levenson. David Heyman, of the Harry Potter movies, will produce the movie with his Heyday Films.

The movie, which is currently in pre-production, is slated for a March 2023 release at the moment.  

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