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Why Timothée Chalamet Was the Perfect Casting Choice for Wonka

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

Whenever someone makes a new take on a classic tale, audiences and critics are naturally skeptical, and I get it. However, I am looking forward to seeing the new Wonka movie musical. Set to hit theaters this December, the story follows a young Willy Wonka’s rise to fame and fortune starring none other than Gen Z heartthrob Timothée Chalamet. The film serves as a prequel to the story we all know while boasting a high-profile cast alongside Chalamet, including Hugh Grant and Rowan Atkinson (AKA Mr. Bean).

Since the trailer was released in July, it has received some backlash from audiences and critics alike. While some claim the remake itself is unnecessary, one of the biggest points of contention is Chalamet’s casting. Because we are so accustomed to seeing him in mysterious, artsy, and sometimes angsty teenager roles, many claim that he won’t provide the eccentric charm needed to play Willy Wonka. As a long-time Timmy stan, I’m optimistic regarding his success in the role. However, let’s put feelings aside and get down to the facts. He is more than qualified to bring director Paul King’s fresh vision of Willy Wonka to life and here’s why.

1. He Can sing

In 2019, Chalamet starred in Woody Allen’s A Rainy Day in New York, which follows two high school sweethearts on a trip to New York City. In the film, he showcases his musical abilities by singing “Everything Happens to Me” by Kenny Drew while playing the piano accompaniment. His voice has a certain melodic, lulling characteristic, reminiscent of Gene Wilder’s performance of “Pure Imagination” in the original 1971 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Bearing this scene in mind, I have no doubt he would do the song justice if given the chance. 

2. He can dance

There are plenty of gems circling YouTube featuring Chalamet’s dancing abilities. One of the most notable is his performance for Rising Stars 2012, where a high school-aged Timmy tears the stage up while rapping a mashup of Nicki Minaj’s “Roman’s Revenge” and some “Lil Timmy Tim” original verses. While it’s unlikely the role of Willy Wonka will require him to duck walk, it’s a move that takes a lot of strength, coordination, and dance skills. Not to mention he rocks a pink shoulder-length bob during this performance, so we know he could eat up a Johnny Depp-inspired Wonka look if necessary. 

3. He has that eccentric Wonka charisma 

Past portrayals of Willy Wonka exude a sort of weird yet charming, awkward yet confident energy. Watch basically any Chalamet interview; he pretty much embodies these characteristics naturally. The boyish charm we’re used to seeing from him is just what the role needs. Add a touch of whimsy and magic and you have the perfect young Willy Wonka.  

Despite the skepticism surrounding Timmy’s casting, I think Wonka has plenty of potential for box office success. Timothée has all the skills necessary to bring the role to life. It’s still pretty early in his career, so of course he’s still rounding out his portfolio. Just because we haven’t seen him in a more fantastical role doesn’t mean he’s not cut out for one. 

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Thea is a junior at Florida State University pursuing a major in English (Editing, Writing, and Media) and a minor in education. She loves listening to all genres of music and spending time outdoors.