With anything and everything in Hollywoodland being repackaged and resurrected, it was only a matter of time before the sugar-coated kingdom of Willy Wonka was given a fresh wrapper. Warner Bros. is banking on Roald Dahl's world of pure imagination by securing the rights to his witty 1964 children's book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, with candy-colored dreams to build a new fantasy franchise. Variety has reported that Warner scored the film adaptation rights from the Roald Dahl estate and is rebooting the property as a multi-film project under the direction of Harry Potter producer David Heyman, whose Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them opens on Nov. 18. The initial screenplay is being written by The Secret Lifes of Pets' Simon Rich.
When I had the chicken pox and the mumps as a kid, my go-to book staying home sick from school was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The brilliant Gene Wilder-led film from 1971, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, is still the definitive live-action version, though it does stray somewhat from the book and omitted some critical chapters for the sake of a more streamlined screen story. The Tim Burton movie from 2005, though actually closer to the source material, chose to invent a lame, unnecessary backstory revealing Wonka's scarred childhood, and the production lacked a certain subtle charm and the small, surreal qualities seen in the Mel Stuart effort. And let's not even mention Johnny Depp's annoying oddball performance wearing a Prince Valiant wig and disturbing false teeth.
Heyman and Co. pointed out that this is not an origin story and will instead focus on the early years of Willy Wonka, perhaps his globetrotting adventures acquiring flavors and ingredients for his magical candies and depicting how the factory was first erected. No casting or directors have been announced yet, but with Gene Wilder's recent passing in August and the spooky candy-centric season of Halloween upon us, this might be an intriguing project to keep our eyes on as it progresses. Fans of Dahl's sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, might wonder why filmmakers haven't latched onto its outer-space strangeness, but the book was never as widely read as the original and would be a weird choice to adapt.
Would you go see a new Charlie and the Chocolate Factory prequel under the careful guidance of the Harry Potter producer, or have you had your fill of Wonka's sweet wonders?
(Via Comic Book)