Timothée Chalamet’s “Wonka” director Paul King recently told Total Film magazine that his singing voice in the upcoming Warner Bros. family adventure is “beautiful” and reminiscent of Bing Crosby, whose rendition of “White Christmas” remains the world’s best-selling single of all time with over 100 million sales. Chalamet is playing a younger version of the eponymous chocolatier in the film, which follows Willy Wonka as he attempts to open up his first chocolate shop.
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“[Chalamet]’s got a beautiful singing voice,” King said. “The person it reminded me of was Bing Crosby. There’s quite a range, because it does go from a couple of bigger, showstopper-y sort of things, to moments of real, pure emotion and he can do it all… I’m going to sound like a crazed fan.”
Although Chalamet has several musical numbers in the film, King prefers not to describe “Wonka” as a “musical.”
“The Oompa Loompas sing a lot in the book, and Roald Dahl always uses poetry,” King said. “But I didn’t want it to just become a musical where people are singing dialogue to each other for no discernible reason. I felt like it was more like a movie with songs than a musical.”
It was Chalamet’s high school musical chops that landed him the role of Wonka without a single audition. King told Rolling Stone in July that he was a Chalamet “stan” and thus knew the actor had the singing and dancing chops required to play the lead character.
“It was a straight offer because he’s great and he was the only person in my mind who could do it,” King said. “But because he’s Timothée Chalamet and his life is so absurd, his high school musical performances are on YouTube and have hundreds of thousands of views. So I knew from stanning for Timmy Chalamet that he could sing and dance really well.”
King continued, “I knew that was in his arsenal, but I didn’t know how good he was. When I spoke to him he was quite keen. He’d done tap dancing in high school and he was like, ‘I’d quite like to show people I can do that.’”
The director, best known for helming “Paddington” and “Paddington 2,” described the film at the time as a “proper” musical that feels like “a really fun hat off to the golden age of MGM musicals.”
“Wonka” opens in theaters nationwide Dec. 15 from Warner Bros.