'Wonka' Director Chose Timothee Chalamet for Lead Role After Watching His 'Digital Footprint'
Warner Bros. Pictures

Paul King knew Timothee would be perfect for the 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' prequel after watching old footage when he was student at a New York performing arts school.

AceShowbiz - Timothee Chalamet's "digital footprint" prompted him to land his role in "Wonka". The 27-year-old actor had to be able to sing to play chocolatier Willy Wonka in the "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" prequel, and fortunately, thanks to old footage from his time at LaGuardia performing arts school in New York already being shared online, director Paul King was already aware his musical abilities wasn't something he'd have to worry about.

"Because we live in this ridiculous century, some of Timmy's high school performances are on the internet and have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. If mine were on the internet I would never work again," Paul said to The Times newspaper's Saturday Review when explaining he cast Timothee on the strength of "all the great movies he's been in."

Timothee laughed, "Digital footprint. I grew up in the arts district in New York and I went to performing arts high schools, so I feel lucky that I didn't have a traditional upbringing in that way."

But the actor insisted his teenage experiences didn't "really prepare" him for the scale of the performances in the film. He said, "It was a brand new challenge. I sang a little bit in high school, but that doesn't really prepare you."

While Timothee was very familiar with Gene Wilder's portrayal of Wonka in the classic 1971 adaptation of Roald Dahl's beloved story, he didn't think it was a bad thing to have the performance on his mind when he was filming his own scenes.

He said, "The Gene Wilder film I grew up on, like many kids in America. That is the quintessence of a magical, mysterious, wonderfully light but also dark figure." Asked if it was hard to get the movie out of his head, he replied, "No because this movie is really the companion piece to that film."

And the "Call Me by Your Name" actor thinks he has a lot in common with his confectioner alter ego. His co-star Keegan-Michael Key noted, "There's a wiliness to Gene Wilder's portrayal that Timmy also has, but at the same time being very optimistic and childlike. Timmy found that balance beautifully." Timothee replied, "I'd like to think maybe I have that quality in life. But I could be dead wrong. Time will tell."

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