Please, Warner Bros., Don’t Cast Ryan Gosling as the New Willy Wonka

Matthew Loffhagen
Warner Bros
(Photo: Warner Bros)

So Warner Bros. is currently working on an origin movie for Willy Wonka. That should turn out well, right?

Who doesn’t love the lengthy, awkward, tonally confused scenes from the Johnny Depp Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie in which we learn about the character’s past as the son of Dracula Dentist? It’s all absolute cinematic gold.

Yup, nothing says evil quite like a father who refuses to let his kid eat unhealthy candy!

Perhaps it’s a mercy that we’re getting a new movie about Roald Dahl’s most famous chocolateer. After all, it feels a bit odd that the Tim Burton movie is, at this point, still the most recent version of the character that we’ve seen – even if Gene Wilder is still popular culture’s de-facto Willy as far as all sane people are concerned.

But if we really are to have a movie that nobody asked for, telling the backstory of a character that works far better as a mysterious entity, then please, Warner Bros., please.

Don’t cast Ryan Gosling in the starring role.

The Hash Tag Show has claimed that The Goose is currently in the running to play the character, and that he’s interested in taking the role if it’s offered to him. It’s easy to see how Gosling might consider this as a fitting alternative to a lucrative comic book movie role, as Willy Wonka’s colorful costume and potential to appear in future movies set in some kind of Roald Dahl shared universe could well be a swell alternative to the position of Doctor Strange that Gosling lost out on to some British guy with a funny name.

The problem is, though, that Gosling is entirely unsuited to play Willy Wonka – he could even (if such a thing is possible) be a worse fit than pre-Amber Heard Johnny Depp.

(Now, of course, letting Johnny Depp anywhere near a role where he smiles as he gives candy to children is the epitome of bad casting, so at least Gosling’s a little better than that.)

What makes Gene Wilder’s turn with the iconic character so memorable is the zany comedy that he brings to the role – Willy Wonka is charming, scatterbrained, and almost (almost) believable as a kooky eccentric who just plain gets along better with children than with adults.

Of course, there’s also the boat scene, but that’s an outlier.

Hmm, okay, maybe Willy Wonka isn’t quite such a charming, friendly guy after all.

The character is complex and weird, and he needs someone with enough wacky quirkiness to pull it off. It’s kind of hard to see the Hey Girl meme hitting quite the right mix of zaniness to match up to Gene Wilder.

Perhaps that’s a lost cause – maybe Wilder’s notoriety in the role means that nobody else will ever quite be able to compare with the more enduring version of the character.

But one way or the other, Warner Bros. should probably turn around to Mr Gosling, and utter the words he needs to hear in relation to this part:

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