It’s the biggest film this Christmas – the origin story of Willy Wonka. But how did the producers make his scrumdiddlyumptious creations for real? Step forward expert chocolatier Gabriella Cugno.
This is the story of Roald Dahl’s hero before he became famous, writes director Paul King. When I was a child, I loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It was one of the first books I read myself, and I read it again and again until the pages fell out. I remember loving the wild comedy, the crazy characters and the magic and mayhem of the chocolate factory. But when David Heyman, the producer behind the Harry Potter films, mentioned the idea of making a Wonka movie, I read it again and realised it also has an incredibly rich, almost Dickensian emotional core. Charlie is such a kind, decent little boy and his family’s poverty causes them such suffering. The fact he goes on to inherit the factory, a more wonderful gift than he could ever have imagined, had me in floods of tears — and the prospect of trying to make a film that captured Dahl’s spirit was too exciting to turn down.
I began by drafting the story I wanted to tell and then worked with Simon Farnaby to craft that into a screenplay. We’ve worked together for a long time, including on Paddington 2, and as well as being a fantastic writer he’s a wonderful performer.