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Challengers Star Josh O’Connor Would Love To Play A Dark Version Of Willy Wonka

Challengers Star Josh O’Connor Would Love To Play A Dark Version Of Willy Wonka


  • Josh O’Connor wants to play a dark Willy Wonka, inspired by Gene Wilder’s version, focusing on the character’s anger and mysterious nature.
  • O’Connor’s take on Willy Wonka would emphasize the darker aspects of the character, offering a more intense and truthful portrayal.
  • Despite O’Connor’s potential dark take on Willy Wonka, there are other, scarier versions of the story currently in development, including a horror film immersive experience.

Josh O’Connor, who currently stars in Luca Guadagnino’s Challengers, has recently stated he wants to play a dark version of Willy Wonka in the future. O’Connor currently stars alongside Zendaya and Mike Faist in Guadagnino’s steamy tennis-based drama. In the film, he plays Patrick, a former tennis prodigy who comes up against his former best-friend-turned-rival and ex-girlfriend at a local tournament. Speaking to WSJ. Style to promote Challengers, O’Connor was asked about the one character he’d really like to play.

To many people’s surprise, the actor immediately said “Willy Wonka. But a dark Willy Wonka.” O’Conner acknowledged Timothée Chalamet’s recent portrayal of Roald Dahl’s iconic character in the 2023 musical Wonka. But Connor wants his version to be closer to Gene Wilder’s 1971 performance.

“I think Gene Wilder’s version of him is very dark. Although, it’s not dark in this sort of sinister way. It’s just that I think he’s a really angry man. You know, these kids win a competition to go around a chocolate factory, and they all seemingly disappear. I mean, it’s sort of mad and dark.”

Josh O’Conner then said that his iteration, leaning into the darker nature of Willy Wonka, would “just play the truth of it.”

A Willy Wonka ‘Immersive Experience’ Horror Film is Coming

Based on the 1964 novel by acclaimed British children’s author, Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has been adapted for the big screen three times. The most famous, and beloved, version is still the 1971 film (which had its title changed to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory), starring Gene Wilder as the titular, and seemingly sinister, candy maker. The story was adapted again in 2005 with Tim Burton at the helm, and Johnny Depp as the iconic creator of the Wonka Bar.

Despite being a box office success – taking in over $475 million – Burton’s version was criticized by fans for adding a bizarre and unnecessary backstory to Willy Wonka’s character. The most recent version is Chalamet’s 2023 musical, directed by Paul King. Wonka took the character back in time, telling the story of how Willy Wonka established himself in the cutthroat business of chocolate making.


Why Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator Was Never Made Into a Movie

Many people know about Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, but do they know about Willy Wonka and the underworld? or when he fought aliens?

While Josh O’Connor’s version of Willy Wonka sounds like he’s been ripped from a horror film, it still wouldn’t be the scariest version of the story currently in the works. In February 2024, social media was ablaze with footage of an unofficial Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Christmas Event in Glasgow, Scotland, went viral. Seemingly put together on a budget smaller than a student film, the experience resembled a haunted house more so than an ‘immersive’ Willy Wonka experience. However, what was more scary was that the tickets cost £35 (roughly $43) per person.

The upcoming film, titled The Unknown, is being produced by Kaledonia Pictures, and is currently slated for release in late 2024.

is currently screening in theaters.

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