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Taika Waititi Delivering Two ‘Willy Wonka’ Shows For Netflix

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Taika Waititi

Taika Waititi is one of the most sought-after people in Hollywood right now. With the recent Oscar win for Jojo Rabbit, Waititi’s stock is through the roof. Now, the director has joined forces with Netflix to deliver two animated shows based on Roald Dahl’s finest creations.

I’ve Got A Golden Ticket

The first show will be based on the classic novel “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Released in 1964, the book became a motion picture delight with 1971’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Starring Gene Wilder, the film earned an Oscar nomination for Best Music, Scoring Adaptation and Original Song Score. In 2014, the film was preserved in the U.S. National Film Registry. A remake was released in 2005 with actor Johnny Depp taking over Wilder’s iconic role as Willy Wonka.

The second show will be based around the popular Oompa-Loompa characters who work for Wonka. This will be the first time these characters will get the spotlight in any medium. “The shows will retain the quintessential spirit and tone of the original story while building out the world and characters far beyond the pages of the Dahl book for the very first time,” Netflix said in a statement.

Cheer Up, Charlie

These two shows will be the first of many Roald Dahl adaptations for Netflix. In 2018, the streaming service revealed plans to also deliver adaptations of titles such as “Matilda,” “The Twits,” and “The BFG.”

“Our mission, which is purposefully lofty, is for as many children as possible around the world to experience the unique magic and positive message of Roald Dahl’s stories,” Roald Dahl’s widow Felicity said in a statement. “This partnership with Netflix marks a significant move toward making that possible and is an incredibly exciting new chapter for the Roald Dahl Story Company. Roald would, I know, be thrilled.”

“Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator” is also on the list of shows being adapted. As the sequel to “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” this story follows Charlie’s travels to the Great Glass Elevator. Dahl’s disappointment with the popular 1971 film forced him to ban movie studios from bringing the sequel to the big screen. One main issue was with Gene Wilder’s casting. “His ideal casting was [surreal English comedian] Spike Milligan and he said Milligan was really up for doing it. He even shaved his beard off to do a screen test,” Dahl’s friend Donald Sturrock told Yahoo.

Taika Waititi

Gage Skidmore / Flick / CC BY 2.0

I Want It Now

There’s no release date for these Netflix shows yet. The streaming service is waiting for Waititi’s schedule to clear. They’re currently working on the forthcoming sports comedy Next Goal Wins, which will be released sometime this year. He also finishing wrapping up work on “The Suicide Squad,” which is directed by James Gunn. As of this writing, his role in the film still hasn’t been made public. This summer, Waititi is slated to begin work on the highly-anticipated Thor: Love and Thunder. The Marvel Studios film, which finds Jane Foster taking over the Thor mantle, is set for a November 5, 2021 release. The film will also have the director reprising his role as Korg. He’ll also be busy promoting the film Free Guy, which comes out on July 3. In the Shawn Levy-directed film, Waititi portrays “Free City” video game publisher Antoine.

While it might take some time, Netflix can’t wait to get to work with the acclaimed director soon. “If Dahl had created a character of a filmmaker to adapt his work, I’m pretty sure he would have created Taika,” Netflix Vice President of Original Animation Melissa Cobb said in a statement.

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