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A prequel to the 1971 classic Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, the upcoming musical Wonka stars Timothée Chalamet as the titular chocolatier. The film will delve deeper into the character’s earlier years, and how his broad conception of life led him to his whimsical journey and legacy.
According to director Paul King, there’s one song that started it all: “Pure Imagination.”
“Pure Imagination,” which Gene Wilder first sang in the 1971 film, is laced with lyrics that encourage listeners (and dreamers alike) to explore the world and go on an adventure in their minds. Shortly after Chalamet’s rendition of Wilder’s iconic song took the internet by storm, King spoke to Entertainment Weekly about how the ballad launched Willy Wonka’s journey. He also spoke to parts of the song that they wanted to incorporate into the story of the forthcoming film.
“Definitely that music of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was the launchpad,” King told EW. “We worked with this great songwriter, Neil Hannon, who’s in this band The Divine Comedy. There was an idea that if this is the story of Willy beginning to take his first steps in the world as a chocolate maker and coming slowly to the idea of a chocolate factory, it’s also the idea of letting his imagination take flight.”
He continued, “There’s the great line in that song that really stuck with me: ‘Want to change the world? There’s nothing to it.’ The song had some of the clues for the story we wanted to tell.”
What is Wonka about?
Based on the characters created by Roald Dahl, Wonka — set to hit cinemas on December 15 — will chronicle the story of Willy Wonka’s early days and how he became the chocolatier we all know today.
“This irresistibly vivid and inventive big screen spectacle will introduce audiences to a young Willy Wonka, chock-full of ideas and determined to change the world one delectable bite at a time — proving that the best things in life begin with a dream, and if you’re lucky enough to meet Willy Wonka, anything is possible,” the official synopsis reads.
Starring alongside Chalamet are Hugh Grant, Calah Lane, Sally Hawkins, Keegan-Michael Key, Rowan Atkinson, Olivia Colman, Matt Lucas, Colin O’Brien, Natasha Rothwell, Jim Carter, Tom Davis, Matthew Baynton, Rich Fulcher, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Ellie White, Simon Farnaby, Paterson Joseph, and Rakhee Thakrar.