Wonka director Paul King has praised Timothée Chalamet’s “beautiful” singing voice, saying the actor’s vocal work while filming the prequel fiml reminded him of 1930s icon Bing Crosby.
King spoke of Chalamet’s performance as the titular chocolatier in a recent interview with Total Film. The director, who previously helmed both instalments of the Paddington film franchise, said Chalamet showcased “quite a range” while singing multiple music numbers throughout Wonka.
“[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.”
Elsewhere in the interview, King said that while there are numerous singing scenes in Wonka, he’s hesitant to label the film a musical. “I didn’t want it to just become a musical where people are singing dialogue to each other for no discernible reason,” King explained. “I felt like it was more like a movie with songs than a musical.”
Earlier this year, King again praised Chalamet’s music chops in an interview with Rolling Stone, pinpointing the actor’s viral high school theatre shows as the moment he began “stanning” Chalamet.
“His high school musical performances are on YouTube and have hundreds of thousands of views,” King said. “So I knew from stanning for Timmy Chalamet that he could sing and dance really well.”
King is the third director to helm a film adaptation of the Roald Dahl tale, following Mel Stuart’s 1971 version and Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in 2005. For his part, King’s Wonka will trace the character’s origin story and attempts to open his first chocolate shop.
The trailer for Wonka arrived in July, with a release date set for December 15, 2023. Chalamet will star opposite fellow castmates Rowan Atkinson, Olivia Coleman and Hugh Grant as an Oompa-Loompa.
Grant’s casting drew criticism from actor George Coppen, who said in July that “a lot of actors [with dwarfism] feel like we are being pushed out of the industry we love.”