Director JJ Abrams signs on for the classic reboot
ASSOCIATED REPORTER – APRIL 1, 2016. First Gene Wilder, then Johnny Depp. Now 35 years since the original Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory debuted, a new Willy is about to hit the scene under the direction of The Force Awakens director, JJ Abrams.
The project has been in the works for the last five years, which was when Barkeater Chocolates first learned of the remake. Deb Morris, co-founder of the Adirondack chocolate company, submitted a proposal to have Barkeater be lead consultant on the inner workings of the chocolate factory. Producer, April Folary, says, “We didn’t want to model this version of the Chocolate Factory after a mega chocolate company like Hershey. This story is not about where Willy and Charlie are today, but a prequel. So we wanted a smaller chocolate company to work with us. Barkeater fit the criteria.”
When JJ Abrams agreed to sign on, he had just wrapped up Lost and hadn’t yet started his work on the Star Wars saga, but according to a spokesperson for his production company Bad Robot, “He [JJ] was excited to delve deeper into the story of the Oompa Loompas and how exactly they came to be. It’s dark and deep and really gives them a voice that they never had in the first two movies. A less annoying voice, anyway.”
The title for the newest Willy Wonka installment has yet to be revealed, but Jim Morris, Co-Founder of Barkeater Chocolates says, “We’ve been tossing around a few ideas and we’re down to two or three. It has to catch the essence of the movie without making it sound like a sequel or a remake. We’re just happy to be a part of the storyline.”
And just how does Barkeater fit in? April says, “Fact checking, continuity, and advice on how to create a believable set. Since Willy Wonka is timeless, the period setting will be ambiguous, but the equipment and set up will be accurate.”
It has been reported that since the Willy Wonka character will be minor, he likely won’t be a well-known celebrity; though it is believed that Zac Ephron auditioned for the part of young Willy. It is also rumored that Jack Black is being considered for the part of Ernie, the head Oompa Loompa. The movie is scheduled to be released by summer of 2018.