Exclusive: David Heyman on the Planned Willy Wonka Prequel and Paddington Sequel

– by Edward Douglas

Earlier this week, LRM spoke with David Heyman, producer of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and we asked him about some of his upcoming projects.

One of them that was recently announced was a Willy Wonka prequel, and some may be wondering whether or not it will be connected to the semi-recent Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, in which Johnny Depp played Wonka—especially since Depp is scheduled to appear in the Fantastic Beasts series.

Heyman didn’t exactly answer that question but gave us some idea why he’s so interested in the property.

“I'm a huge Dahl fan. I've been trying to get involved with various Dahl projects for an age,” he said. “Most of them already have people working on them, but I'm standing in the wings, waiting for Wonka to come free. It's such a big part of my childhood, and I love Willy Wonka. I love Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The Gene Wilder, as well. You know, I think that we have a way into telling the Willy Wonka story - sort of an origin story, as it were, but I think it will be quite magnificent, actually.”

The other project that’s already into production is a sequel to 2015’s Paddington, which actually was better than many expected and also did quite well in its North American release even though kids here don’t have the connection to the character as kids in Britain.

“I think it could have done even better,” Heyman opined. “I would argue that it was sold as a children's film and actually it's a family film. I think that there wasn't a confidence in what it was, and Bob Weinstein and I have a lot of conversations about it, and I'm hoping the next film, that'll shift. Paddington is a film that adults can enjoy as well as children. So in this one we have Hugh Grant, we have Brendan Gleeson, and Paul King is back writing and directing. I'm really excited by it. We're in the fourth week, I think. One of the things I love about the first film is it's about being an outsider. It's about finding a home, and it's also--and I think this is central--it's the idea of embracing people who are different, because they will enrich your life. In doing so, your life will be enriched. That’s actually not dissimilarly to Potter in the sense of tolerance and acceptance of difference. Don’t stigmatize people just because they’re not like you, out of fear. Fear is a destructive motivation, it’s toxic. I think that’s true in Fantastic Beasts, too.”

Look for our full interview with Heyman next week.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them  hits theaters on November 18, 2016.

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Film, LRM Exclusives, News, Featured Willy Wonka, Paddington, Paddington Bear, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Scoops