Hollywood is heading back to a world of pure imagination to tell the origin story of one of Roald Dahl’s most iconic characters.
Warner Bros. Pictures has reportedly bought the rights to make a film based on Willy Wonka, the beloved chocolatier from Dahl’s 1964 book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The movie is expected to serve as a prequel story for the character, unfolding before the events of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and its various adaptations over the years.
According to Variety, Harry Potter franchise producer David Heyman and Michael Siegel, the manager of the Roald Dahl Literary Estate, will produce the film. Simon Rich, who co-wrote the animated features The Secret Life of Pets and Inside Out, will pen the script for the movie.
Little is known about the general direction of the film, but the report indicates that it will focus on Willy Wonka and his early adventures prior to both Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Dahl’s 1972 sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. Despite penning two books about young Charlie Bucket’s experiences with the unpredictable Willy Wonka, the author explored very little of Wonka’s life in the time between his childhood and the events of the original book.
If the project moves forward, it will be one of several movies based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Gene Wilder portrayed Willy Wonka in a beloved 1971 adaptation of the story, and Johnny Depp portrayed the character in Tim Burton’s 2005 film. A musical stage production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory premiered in London in 2013 and will open on Broadway in the U.S. in April 2017.
There’s no official timeline for the Willy Wonka movie to enter production at this point.