*A Willy Wonka prequel has been in the works at Warner Bros. since 2016, with the hopes of launching a franchise centered on Roald Dahl’s classic character, and now there appears to be movement in the casting.
Four months after hiring Paddington helmer Paul King to direct, Collider is reporting that the studio is considering a shortlist of actors to play the title role, including “Atlanta” creator and star Donald Glover.
Ryan Gosling and Ezra Miller are also in the running, according to the report from Collider’s Jeff Sneider. Glover, he says, is considered the “wild card” out of the three:
The studio has a lot invested in Miller, who stars in WB’s Fantastic Beasts franchise (which is produced by Heyman) and plays The Flash in the DC movie universe. Do they trust him enough to give him another potential franchise?
The studio has coveted Gosling for years, working with him on Blade Runner 2049, Crazy, Stupid Love, The Nice Guys and Gangster Squad. Heck, they even picked up his super-arthouse directorial debut Lost River, just to be in business with the guy. Gosling will be riding high off First Man, which could put him back in the Oscar race this fall, and after that, his schedule is pretty clear. He could also stand to do a four-quadrant, family-friendly tentpole, as most of his films have been aimed at adult audiences.
Solo sensation Glover is the real wild card here. Yes, he’s incredibly busy between his hit FX series Atlanta and his burgeoning music career, but on the film side, all he has coming up is the voice of Simba in Disney’s live-action remake of The Lion King. We also hear that Glover has actively been chasing this role, and he’d certainly be a welcome change from Johnny Depp, who led Tim Burton‘s 2005 adaptation of Dahl’s novel.
The project hails from “Harry Potter” producer David Heyman and screenwriter Simon Rich (“Man Seeking Woman”), and it’s rumored to be a prequel that will explore Wonka’s origin story, including how he got rich, and how he met the Oompa Loompas.