Comedy legend Gene Wilder’s passed away at the end of August, but that doesn’t spell the end for one of his most beloved roles in film. Variety reports that Warner Bros. and David Heyman, a producer for the “Harry Potter” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” franchises, have acquired the rights to “Willy Wonka” from the Roald Dahl Estate and will develop a new movie focused on the beloved character.
The newest take on the candy factory magnate will eschew an origin story for a standalone adventure set before the events of the original film and novel, although Variety is careful to note that — if the venture is successful — “it seems likely that characters like Charlie could be seen in future installments of a possible franchise.” The report indicates that Heyman and Warner Bros. were in negotiations for the property since the beginning of this year, so the powers-that-be didn’t jump on the opportunity due to Wilder’s death.
This “Willy Wonka” prequel isn’t the first time the classic film has been revisited by Hollywood. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp took on Dahl’s creation back in 2005 with “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” which starred Depp as Willy Wonka himself.
“The Secret Life of Pets” scribe Simon Rich will write the script for the upcoming film. Michael Siegel, the manager of the Dahl Estate, will produce alongside Heyman with Kevin McCormick executive producing.
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