No, it wasn’t pure imagination. The first official set photos of Timothée Chalamet as young Willy Wonka went viral over the weekend, rightfully earning comparisons to Gonzo in A Muppet Christmas Carol. Some will question the necessity of a chocolatier’s being attractive; all we know is Gene Wilder set the precedent. Wonka, the prequel musical directed by Paul King, is currently filming its gritty origin story in the seaside town of Lyme Regis, United Kingdom, where Art Doherty, @_ARTSARTSARTS on Twitter, is reporting live for fellow stans. The 21-year-old (who uses any pronoun) inadvertently became a Warner Bros. “leak” on Tuesday, iconically tweeting, “theydies and gentlethems, without further ado, the main event … THEE timothée chalamet on my doorstep recording a musical number for wonka!” along with the first official (unofficial) glimpse of the film. And, no, it wasn’t an emotionally stirring rendition of “Pure Imagination” or a “Statistics” reprise.
In the short clip, Chalamet is seen riding on the back of a truck, singing to a campy backing track. “Now it’s time to show the world my recipe,” he can be heard, La Guardia Arts training in full effect. “I’ve got 12 silver sovereigns in my pocket / And a hat full of dreams.” Just like when his French Dispatch mustache and his bowl cut for The King first leaked, stans have a lot of feelings to process. “I’m at the point now where I thought it would be cool for maybe like 100 people or like 1,000 people,” Doherty told Vulture on Tuesday over Zoom. “And now it’s like, 100,000 views and I’m like, Am I about to lose my whole account?” Below, we spoke to the 21-year-old about providing the Timothée Chalamet Twonka (twink Wonka) footage the internet needs and get the very first review of Wonka (2023).
How did you first discover the Wonka set?
It was, honestly, totally bizarre. I live in a really, really quiet place in the southwest of England. Genuinely nothing happens here. I can’t describe how quiet it is. There’s like a really nice beach ten minutes from us, which we always go for walks on. Then, it turned out that there was some kind of filming going on. I was like, “Oh, Mom, what’s going on on the beach?” And she was like, “Oh, they’re filming that film called Wonka. I think it’s got Rowan Atkinson in.” And I was like, “You mean the film with Timothée Chalamet?” And she was like, “Who’s that?”
I’m back the following day and then he shot yesterday and today. It was just the coolest thing ever. He looked like he was having a really good fun time and the crew was super lovely.
Did you immediately go on Twitter?
Yeah, I’m such like, an online person just because especially during the pandemic I’ve been so cut off from people my own age and queer people. It always provides a really nice sense of community.
What’s it like hearing him sing the “Hat Full of Dreams” song?
They were just playing the tracks from it and recording the actual musical numbers today. And I was like, “This is amazing.”
Do you like it?
Oh, getting ready to wade into the discourse. Um, yeah, I think it’s really cute. I don’t know if that is going to be the final version. It’s so nice to see him skipping around with his little cane and his hat. Like, the body language was so good. Even just from his walk I was like, “He’s got this down.”
It’s really fun to see him lean into theater-kid roots again. We love theater kids.
How would you describe the plot based exclusively on what you’ve seen? Warner Bros. are going to drag me for this. There seem to be a lot of French writing on the vehicles and number plates. So, I feel like it might be like France or Canada, but don’t hold me to that. And it looked like they were filming him getting off of a boat. Either he’s going to get the Oompa Loompas or coming back from them, or I don’t know. Don’t want to wade into the Oompa Loompa discourse too much because it’s gonna be a thing.
Timmy’s hair is always a topic of discussion when new set photos drop. Can you give us an update on the state of the curls?
He was chilling on the roof of a truck whilst they were getting ready to set [the scene] up and the hat kept coming off during downtime which I really loved. I just think that’s really nice, like in character/out of character. The sun was shining on it. It was bouncy and golden and even more beautiful than I could ever imagine.
How has the response from his stans been?
Honestly, really nice. As with anything going viral on the internet, there’s been like a couple slightly sus responses but I mean, the block button is there. It’s been so nice to see everyone being like “Oh, thank you for this.” I’ve been the hugest fan of his for so long. I went to see Call Me by Your Name when I was like 17 in the tiniest cinema because it was the only one that was showing it here. And that was really nice, but I just went with my friend and, obviously, that changed my life, but I didn’t really have the online community thing going on then. So, finally to have loads of people who appreciate it as much as me is so nice.
You’ve claimed Wonka Timothée Chalamet as a twink.
He is. I’m sorry. I’m not attaching any other labels other than twink. I think you can’t disagree with that.
Can you describe some of the qualities that make him a twink?
It’s just the walk. If you’re gonna do a young Willy Wonka, he’s gonna end up being a twink by nature. But the joie de vivre from the walk and the way he’s just bouncing along with a little top hat and tails, it’s just twinky behavior. There’s no other way to put it. I’m sorry.
If Timothée Chalamet were to read this, what would you want to say to him?
I would love to say something funny, but honestly, I hope that he’s not mad at me for leaking the video. And also just that I hope he knows that he can come to literally the middle of nowhere and still have people who his art has really profoundly touched.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.