Wonka’s Keegan-Michael Key Praises Timothée Chalamet’s Performance As The Title Character

Timothée Chalamet and Keegan-Michael Key
(Image credit: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/ Hulu)

In the past, we’ve seen Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka played by Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp, who were both able to show off the character's whimsical, yet mysterious persona. The new movie Wonka is about the eccentric chocolatier’s origin story, and with Dune star Timothée Chalamet taking on the lead role, his co-star Keegan-Michael Key sends nothing but praise for the lead actor’s performance in the new movie.

Toy Story 4 star Keegan-Michael Key was added to the cast of Wonka, but there are no updates yet on who he’ll play. The Key & Peele star spoke to The Hollywood Reporter at the premiere of his new Hulu series Reboot that his co-star Timothée Chalamet really gave a golden ticket performance that he’s very impressed with, saying:

There’s this wonderful effortlessness about how he plays Wonka, not to mention the fact that there’s this hopeful quality that he gives the character, a kind of indomitable quality that he’ll never quit, he’s always up for the next thing. He’s like, ‘OK, that didn’t work out? We’ll do this and we’ll try something else.’ And Timothée Chalamet, what can I say? Sacrébleu! This kid, you know, he drips charisma and a wonderful confidence. He’s just a really delicious artist.

As Chalamet has taken on a number of roles that have shown off his acting range with examples like Little Women and Call Me By Your Name, I would have to agree with that praise. Another quality that Keegan-Michael Key was impressed with was the musical numbers in Wonka. He explains that the Bones & All actor has seven musical numbers that he describes as “wonderous and a little bit epic.” Considering we’ve never heard the young actor sing before, this will be a real treat to audiences. He also felt that Timothée Chalamet’s performance definitely benefited from the direction of Paddington’s Paul King, who brought the film “childlike heart.” That’s exactly what any Willy Wonka film needs to attract families to explore how Wonka entered the world of pure imagination.

Some quick things we know so far about Wonka is that Paddington stars like Sally Hawkins, Simon Farnaby and Matt Lucas will be part of the project. Key will also get to work again with his Lion King co-star Rowan Atkinson. Also expect to see Oscar-winning actress Olivia Colman, Downton Abbey’s Jim Carter and Sonic the Hedgehog’s Natasha Rothwell in the film. We can anticipate seeing original music numbers and delving deep into Wonka’s time before his chocolate factory opened. We got some glimpses into his childhood and meeting the Oompa Loompas in Tim Burton’s adaptation, so it’ll be exciting to see King’s version of the classic story.

When the first look of Wonka was revealed that showed Chalamet in character wearing Wonka’s signature top hat, the internet lost its mind. Because the image shows the Lady Bird actor with this sly, yet sexy smile on his face, Twitter users felt like they were giving the character of Willy Wonka sex appeal. Considering we’ve seen Chalamet take on a bunch of serious characters, we’ve never actually seen the young actor show a child-like charisma in his roles. Still, this talented actor has said that Wonka should be looked at as “sincere” and “joyous,” and that proves not to always judge a movie by its one picture.

Keegan-Michael Key absolutely believes that Timothée Chalamet fits the role of Willy Wonka very well and loves the professionalism he brings to the title role. We’ll get to see a different side of Chalamet for ourselves in Wonka, as it has a 2023 release date of December 15th.

Carly Levy
Entertainment Writer

Just your average South Floridian cinephile who believes the pen is mightier than the sword.