- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Paris Themmen, the actor who played Mike Teavee in the Gene Wilder-led 1971 classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, says Timothée Chalamet is “a talented actor,” but that the 25-year-old star doesn’t “have to be as good” as Wilder for Warner Bros.’ planned prequel Wonka.
Themmen shared his thoughts during an interview with Yahoo Entertainment as part of a virtual reunion celebrating the film’s 50th anniversary. He appeared alongside Willy Wonka co-stars Peter Ostrum, Julia Dawn Cole and Michael Bollner, who played Charlie Bucket, Veruca Salt and Augustus Gloop, respectively.
“One nice thing for them is they don’t have to do a direct comparison because it’s a prequel rather than a remake,” Themmen said. “So he doesn’t necessarily have to be as good as Gene was, which obviously is a hugely difficult thing to do.”
The actor shared that while Chalamet might not be able to bring the same spirit to the role as Wilder, who passed away in 2016, he is still talented and already embodies much of the same look Wilder brought to the film.
“Talented actor,” Themmen said of the Dune star. “I don’t know if he has the wild eyes that Gene has, but he’s kind of got the hair. And a general look that’s kind of similar.”
While some fans of the 1970s film might object to the Warner Bros. prequel, which will see Chalamet starring as a young version of Wonka, Ostrum said the latest take on the classic tale is just part of the story’s legacy.
“You can’t kill Wonka,” said Ostrum, whose lone film role was playing Charlie — the generous but downtrodden child who found a Golden Ticket and won a trip inside the reclusive candymaker’s famous factory. “It just gets played over and over again, whether the original or the remake with Johnny Depp.”
Ostrum noted that the 2005 Tim Burton-directed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which saw Depp taking on the mantle of Wonka, introduced young audiences to the original. He pointed to Burton’s darker adaptation as evidence that Hollywood’s continuous attempt to remake Roald Dahl’s original 1964 novel is actually good for the story.
“That brought attention back to our film. Kids saw Johnny Depp’s version, their parents said, ‘You need to see the original,'” Ostrum told Yahoo. “Anything that talks about Wonka is good for the Wonka story. It’s a great story, and it needs to be retold, regardless of who’s producing it or who’s making it.”
During the interview, the cast also praised Wilder, with Cole saying he was nothing like his iconic character. “I think people kind of want us to tell you that he was like Willy Wonka off set, but he wasn’t,” she said. “He was such a lovely, kind man, very unassuming.”
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day