This Secret About Timothée Chalamet’s Willy Wonka Casting Proves He Had a Golden Ticket

Wonka director Paul King recently revealed he cast Timothée Chalamet after "stanning" his singing and dancing talents from his high school performances.

By Angie Orellana Hernandez Jul 14, 2023 3:09 AMTags
Watch: Zendaya & Timothee Chalamet on Being "Friends for Life"

Call Timothée Chalamet by this name: a triple threat.

Director Paul King recently revealed that the Dune actor didn't have to audition to land the starring role of Willy Wonka in upcoming musical film Wonka, which traces the backstory of the chocolate mogul. In fact, King revealed Chalamet's golden ticket stemmed from his singing and dancing talents.

"It was a straight offer because he's great and he was the only person in my mind who could do it," King told Rolling Stone in an interview published July 11. "But because he's Timothée Chalamet and his life is so absurd, his high school musical performances are on YouTube and have hundreds of thousands of views."

The performances in question? Videos of the then-teenage King star belting out songs from Sweet Charity during a performance at his Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School. 

"So I knew from stanning for Timmy Chalamet that he could sing and dance really well," King added. "And I knew that was in his arsenal, but I didn't know how good he was. When I spoke to him he was quite keen."

Timothee Chalamet's Best Looks

But singing isn't the only ability on Chalamet's résumé, as King explained, "He'd done tap dancing in high school and he was like, ‘I'd quite like to show people I can do that.'"

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Fans got to see the first look at the 27-year-old's transformation into the fictitious Wonka Chocolate Factory founder—based on the character from Roald Dahl's classic children's novel—in a newly-released trailer on July 11.

Wonka hits theaters Dec. 15. In the meantime, keep scrolling to read about other actors' shocking audition stories over the years.

Lea Michele

Michele almost didn't make it to her Glee audition! "I got into a massive car crash outside of the Fox lot—completely totaling my car," she recounted. "When I get into the room for my audition, I literally was still pulling pieces of glass out of my hair. They're like, 'Are you okay?' I'm like, 'I'm fine!'"

Bryan Cranston

The Breaking Bad actor went method for one of his early auditions and it did not go well. "I was auditioning for a movie at Paramount. I was said [the character] was a cocky, self-centered, egotistical brat. I remember wearing cowboy boots and jeans, an open loose shirt," he said. "The story took place in Texas or something, so I thought, 'I'm going to go in there and be just this guy.' I walked in like this and he stands up, holds out his hand and I go, psh. I sat down, kicked my boots up onto his desk and just kind of looked at him. He sat down, looked at my boots and said, 'Get your boots off of my desk.' And I went, 'Oh s--t.' Then I went psh. I just scoffed at him again...he goes, 'GET YOUR BOOTS OFF MY DESK.'"

Felicity Huffman

"I was going in for the ingenue, and I put on my dress, and I realized that I just wasn't quite chesty enough. So I took toilet paper, and I stuffed my bra," Huffman said. "Then I went in and did a terrible audition, for a movie, with the director and the fancy people in the room, and it just laid there like a dead fish and I was like, ‘Well, thank you so much.' And I leaned down to get my bag and somehow, the arm of toilet paper—it was God's joke— came and went out of my dress like that. So I had to pick up my ego and my toilet paper and walk out of the room."

Chris Evans

The Captain America star once had a very awkward audition with Ben Affleck. "I went in [for Gone Baby Gone] and shook his hand, and the first thing I said was, 'Hey, how ya doing? Am I gonna be okay where I parked?' And he said, 'Where'd you park?' And I said, 'At one of the meters.' And he said, 'Did you put money in it?' And I said, 'Yeah.' And he said, 'I think you'll be all right.' From that moment, I just wanted to get the f--k out of the room."

Drew Barrymore

Barrymore recalled, "Oh my God, I won't say the movie, but they called me in on a Sunday with a casting assistant. They didn't think I was worthy enough of even reading with the casting director. They did it in the basement, and it was a scene where I have to do this oral thing with this guy's hand, and no one was there so I had to do it to myself. It was by far the most humiliating experience. I thought,'They think I'm such s--t that I'm here on a Sunday with the assistant, giving myself a finger in the mouth. This is a low point.'"

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

The Game of Thrones star had to act out a toilet scene where he pretended to have explosive diarrhea for his audition for the film The Other Woman.  "And the audition was on Skype," he told E! News in 2014. "That was funny!"

Jake Gyllenhaal

"I remember auditioning for The Lord of the Rings and going in and not being told that I needed a British accent," the hunk told The Hollywood Reporter. "I really do remember Peter Jackson saying to me, 'You know that you have to do this in a British accent?' We heard back it was literally one of the worst auditions."

Emilia Clarke

The British brunette beauty ended her Game of Thrones audition by asking all of the HBO execs if there was anything else she could do, even "make them some tea or something." "[Co-creator and showrunner] David Benioff suggested I do a dance...and so I did," Clarke admitted. "I don't know how to do it, but I did the funky chicken. And I kind of morphed into the robot."

Carey Mulligan

For Inside Llewyn Davis, Mulligan almost sent in an audition tape of herself wasted. "I was so excited so I did the audition after a dinner where I had had a few drinks," the Brit beauty said. "My American accent is better after a few drinks and then I decided to eat something—it works for Brad Pitt, who eats all the time in films. It was a really drunk audition." Luckily, Mulligan came to her senses and never sent the video.

Lucy Hale

The Pretty Little Liars auditioned for Dakota Johnson‘s role in Fifty Shades of Grey. "That audition was so uncomfortable! It's exactly what you thought it would be: a big monologue but very, very sexual…there were some things that I was so embarrassed to be reading out loud, but it's one of those things where you have to commit wholeheartedly or you're going to make a fool of yourself," she remembers.

Shia LaBeouf

For Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac, the actor once joked, "I sent him videotapes of me and my girlfriend having sex and that's how I got the job."

Ryan Reynolds

"I was never a great auditioner. But I had one where I had to sing, and I'm a nervous singer. I'm one of those people know when you're in the shower, and you're like, 'This is pretty good'? But once I get out into the real world, it's just like my voice turns into a hammer that hits everybody in the face," the Deadpool star told Variety. "So I did an audition where I had to sing, and it was pretty bad. It's one of those auditions that was so bad that I look back and I think, 'What if that tape surfaces at some point? That'll be the death of me.' Yeah. That was pretty awful."

Kit Harington

In an interview with W magazine, Harington recalled his audition for Game of Thrones: "I had a black eye. I'd been in a fight the night before...I'd went into McDonald's with this girl I had been dating, and it was late night and there was no seats. I asked this guy and this girl that he was with if we could sit at the same table as them. We sat down, and quite quickly he started being rude to the girl I was with, calling her names…He called her an ugly pig or something worse, and I said, 'No you can't, you can't call her that. Get up...He'd been sat down the entire time so when he got up he just kept going. I realized I had to, at that point, I had to throw the first punch or else I'd look like a complete wimp. And I got batted. So I went to the Jon Snow audition with a black eye, which I think that man who punched me in the face may have helped me get the job, so thank you!"

Casey Affleck

It's a good thing Affleck isn't a quitter because his breakout role in 1995's To Die For didn't come easy. "I read six times," Affleck recalls. "I auditioned for that movie over and over again for the casting director and then I finally met the director and I read for him once and he said, 'That was good. Okay, you can do it,' and I got the part like that and I was like, 'That was easy!'...Note to self: 'Don't read for casting directors, just get into the room with the director.'"

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