Word on the street is that Donald Glover is listed to play Willy Wonka in an upcoming adaption of the novel by Roald Dahl, helmed by Paddington director Paul King.The movie is slated to be a prequel, which will explore the title character’s origin story. The casting news shouldn’t surprise people, however, since Glover has had quite the year appearing in multiple remakes and prequels. In 2018, he appeared in Solo: A Star Wars Story as Lando Calrissian and next year he will voice Simba in the live-action version of Disney’s The Lion King. Still, the short-list rumor isn’t an easy pill to swallow for the actor who has an interesting relationship with the character.
“It kind of terrified me as a child a little bit,” he told Entertainment Tonight about the original 1971 Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, starring Gene Wilder as Wonka. “It was a really scary movie to me. I mean, I watched it a lot but I was kind of terrified by it. I mean, you know, it’s a classic.” Johnny Depp starred in the 2005 remake, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory (it grossed $475 million worldwide). While Depp’s pale, somber interpretation made the film a box office hit, audiences are sure to see a whole new kind of Wonka in Glover. “There’s been a lot of Willy Wonkas, so I would have to think about it on some level,” he told ET. “But it’s cool that people are thinking about me.”
Reportedly, actors Ezra Miller and Ryan Gosling are also short-listed to play the iconic role.