Timothée Chalamet’s Wonka: is it so wrong to find him scrumdiddlyumptious?

The actor’s in-costume Instagram post has caused social media users to accuse the film-makers of “making Willy Wonka sexy” – but Wonka-lust is hardly new

In a sentence I never thought I’d ever write, Timothée Chalamet has revealed his Wonka on Instagram. Chalamet is, of course, currently filming the Willy Wonka movie prequel, and his post last night gave the world its first look at this new iteration.

Judging by the internet, there are essentially two ways to react to it. The first is to be disgusted that Hollywood has bastardised one of the all-time great children’s characters by inventing a brand new backstory, with no input from its creator, for cash. The second is just to get really, really horny.

“Timotheè [sic] Chalamet as sexy Willy Wonka is exciting and confusing,” wrote one tweeter after the new Wonka was unveiled. “WHY DOES EVERYONE WANT TO MAKE WILLY WONKA SEXY SO BADLY,” tweeted another in fits of lust-crazed despair. A third, in a moment of what can only be described as plaintive ambition, simply announced: “im gonna fuck willy wonka”.

To anyone familiar with the various movie adaptations of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, this might seem slightly absurd. After all, the previous Willy Wonka was played by Johnny Depp in his imperial phase. True, he played Wonka as a creepy Michael Jackson-alike, but this was still pre-cancellation Depp, before he transmogrified into Marlon Brando: Nightclub Bouncer. Thirty years earlier, Gene Wilder’s Wonka was mysterious and sly, with a barely concealed dark side – in short, he’s the Wonka your girlfriend told you not to worry about.

Maybe it’s time we came to terms with the fact that Willy Wonka, in whatever guise, is sexy. Here is a man who built a factory devoted to the pursuit of pleasure. But at the same time he wants you to know that pleasure comes at a cost. Do as he says and great fortune awaits. Defy him and you die. Basically, Willy Wonka invented Squid Game, and nothing on God’s green earth is sexier than that.

That said, having Timothée Chalamet as Willy Wonka removes some of the character’s paternalism. In Wonka, we will get to see Willy before he became Wonka. He’s still rough around the edges, waiting to be formed. Remember Christian Bale in Batman Begins? Remember Daniel Craig in Casino Royale? Both those films took beloved, established characters and dragged you back to when they were lean and hungry, vulnerable and full of desire. That’s the sort of Wonka we’re going to get in Wonka; the sort of Wonka who’ll do to a generation of teenage girls what David Bowie did to a different generation when he starred in Labyrinth.

Now I could be completely wrong here. Chalamet’s Instagram depicted a fairly traditional Willy Wonka. His velvet jacket is adorned with a simple floral flourish, and his trademark top hat is intact. You could pop any actor in that costume and they’d look like a normal Willy Wonka. Wonka is being made by the team behind Paddington, so there is every reason to believe this film is going to be warm and sweet and funny and whimsical. When it is released, unless something goes horribly wrong, there is a strong likelihood that it will become instantly beloved by all the family.

But still. Look at Timothée Chalamet’s jawline. Stare into his eyes, gazing offscreen with a mixture of longing and contempt. Try telling me that this isn’t going to be 50 Shades of Wonka in all but name. Wonka will be released in March 2023. None of us stand a chance.

Contributor

Stuart Heritage

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Timothée Chalamet to play Willy Wonka in origins movie
Oscar nominee will follow in the footsteps of Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp with role of the chocolate maker in Roald Dahl’s Wonka

Benjamin Lee

24, May, 2021 @3:38 PM

Article image
Why a Willy Wonka origins movie could be bad news for children – and Michael Aspel
Will Paul King’s planned prequel follow in the pawprints of Paddington? Or might it stick closer to Warner Bros’ most recent origins hit: Joker?

Stuart Heritage

20, Jan, 2021 @12:41 PM

Article image
After We Collided: does this shock hit point the way to cinema's future?
Ignored by critics, barely marketed and released in just 47 cinemas, the YA romance has eclipsed X-Men at the UK box office and even ran Tenet close. What’s its secret?

Elle Hunt

18, Sep, 2020 @4:11 PM

Article image
The most exciting movies of 2020 – blockbusters
Maverick swoops back on screen, Ghostbusters comes back to life and the 25th Bond film arrives (finally) in next year’s impressive array of big-budget knockouts

Guardian film

24, Dec, 2019 @7:00 AM

Article image
The 50 best films of 2019 in the US: No 5 – Little Women
An instant five-star classic, Greta Gerwig’s revisionist look at the March sisters is the definition of a festive spirit-raiser

Catherine Shoard

16, Dec, 2019 @12:00 PM

Article image
The King review – Shakespeare reboot is Game-of-Thrones lite with touch of Python
Much of the poetry and emotion has gone from this decaff version of the Henry plays, letting down Timothée Chalamet’s decent lead performance

Peter Bradshaw

11, Oct, 2019 @8:00 AM

Article image
Kristen Stewart on Princess Diana: ‘The sad thing was she felt so isolated and lonely’
Stewart explains her admiration for Diana as Spencer premieres at Venice, while the film-makers behind Dune stress its contemporary relevance

Andrew Pulver

03, Sep, 2021 @3:51 PM

Article image
Dune review – blockbuster cinema at its dizzying, dazzling best
Denis Villeneuve’s slow-burn space opera fuses the arthouse and the multiplex to create an epic of otherworldly brilliance

Xan Brooks

03, Sep, 2021 @4:45 PM

Article image
Dune review – Denis Villeneuve’s awe-inspiring epic is a moment of triumph
Villeneuve’s take on the sci-fi classic starring Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac and Zendaya has been given room to breathe, creating a colossal spectacle

Peter Bradshaw

20, Oct, 2021 @2:00 PM

Article image
Gene Wilder – five key performances
From The Producers to Stir Crazy, via Willy Wonka and Blazing Saddles, we pick out the key roles by Gene Wilder, who died on Monday aged 83

Andrew Pulver

29, Aug, 2016 @9:59 PM