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Willie Wonka remake: Hollywood goes back to the chocolate factory

Johnny Depp's 2005 version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a financial blockbuster and a critical failure

Willie Wonka remake: Hollywood goes back to the chocolate factory

Weeks after Gene Wilder’s death, his most beloved character is being revived by the producer of the Harry Potter screen franchise

Willie Wonka remake: Hollywood goes back to the chocolate factory

Yes, Hollywood is running out of ideas. But after this year’s reboots of Ghostbusters, The Magnificent Seven, Pete’s Dragon, Ben Hur, The Jungle Book and next year’s Dynasty TV series, you knew that already. Just six weeks after the death of Gene Wilder comes the announcement of a new film based around his immortal role as Willy Wonka, the eccentric chocolate maker at the centre of Roald Dahl’s children’s novels Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. For this we can thank Harry Potter producer David Heyman and The Secret Life of Pets writer Simon Rich, according to Variety. Heyman has form in rebooting franchises. He has just finished producing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the prequel to Harry Potter which is set 70 years before the young magician went to Hogwarts. The new Willy Wonka film is apparently not an adaptation of Dahl’s books but a standalone film about Wonka’s early adventures. Variety hints that Charlie, the boy who wins a golden ticket to Wonka’s chocolate factory in the first book, might not appear in the film. It’s believed he’ll appear in “future installments of a possible franchise” if the revamp is a hit. Wilder, who died in August, played Wonka in the 1971 movie. The movie was a flop and was only raised to its now-classic status through constant replays on TV and video. Producer Tim Burton and Johnny Depp revived the character in their 2005 blockbuster, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the only film based on Dahl’s novels that has ever made money. No cast has been announced for the new film. Dahl’s creation also became a stage musical by director Sam Mendes in 2003. It has been playing in London’s West End since 2013 and will open on Broadway in April.

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