If one is making a film about the creation of the world’s best chocolatier, one should perhaps bring on a real-life chocolatier to help create the hundreds of chocolates consumed onscreen in the course of the movie.
Enter Gabriella Cugno, officially in the set decorating and props team, but in essence, the behind-the-scenes Wonka of “Wonka.”
After being sent the script, Cugno took a crack at making six confections (with up to four different designs each) for director Paul King, taking care to make sure the outside “signaled” the inside and conveyed the magic of the sweet. After a show-and-taste, King chose his favorite of each and gave instruction for the design of the remaining chocolates.
Per King: “Everything that is eaten in the movie is not only edible, but delicious. I promise. When the characters eat flowers or leaves, they’re edible. They’re great. And
there was an amazing thing on set one day… I was remembering the bit where Gene Wilder [as Willy Wonka] eats the teacup. We had a shot and I was like, ‘Oh, if only I’d thought of this, we could have a chocolate cup that Willy could make.’ And Gabriella went, ‘Oh, I can do that.’ And I went, ‘We’ve got an hour before we film it.’ ‘Don’t worry.’ And she went away and made half a dozen, because obviously you need multiple takes. Blue, perfect little cup and saucer, made of different blue leaves all formed into the shape. And you just go, ‘I need you in my life.’”