Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (film)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a 2005 film adaptation of the 1964 book of the same name by Roald Dahl. Directed by Tim Burton, the film stars Freddie Highmore as Charlie Bucket and Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka. The storyline concerns a young boy (Highmore) winning a tour through the most magnificent chocolate factory in the world, led by an eccentric candy maker (Depp).

Development for another adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory began in 1991, which resulted in Warner Bros. providing the Dahl estate with total artistic control. Prior to Burton's involvement, directors such as Gary Ross, Rob Minkoff, Martin Scorsese and Tom Shadyac had been involved, while Warner Bros. either considered or discussed the role of Willy Wonka with Nicolas Cage and Jim Carrey.

Burton immediately brought regular collaborators Johnny Depp and Danny Elfman aboard. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory represents the first time since The Nightmare Before Christmas that Elfman contributed to the film score using written songs and his vocals. Filming lasted from June to December 2004 at Pinewood Studios in England, where Burton avoided using digital effects as much as possible. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was released to critical praise and was a box office success, grossing approximately $475 million worldwide.



Charlie Bucket is a poor boy who lives near the Wonka Candy Company. He lives with his mother, his father (who works in a toothpaste factory), and his four bedridden grandparents in the same town as the famous factory. The company's owner, Willy Wonka, has long closed access to his factory due to problems concerning industrial espionage that ultimately led him to fire all his employees, among them Charlie's Grandpa Joe. One day, Wonka informs the world of a contest, in which five Golden Tickets have been placed in five random Wonka Bars worldwide, and the winners will be given a full tour of the factory as well as a lifetime supply of chocolate, while one ticket holder will be given a special prize at the end of the tour.

Wonka's sales subsequently skyrocket, and the first four tickets are found fairly quickly. The recipients are Augustus Gloop, a gluttonous German boy; Veruca Salt, a very spoiled English girl; Violet Beauregarde, a competitive American gum chewer, gymnast and karate champion, and Mike Teavee, an arrogant television and video game addict. Charlie tries twice to find a ticket, but both bars come empty. After overhearing that the final ticket was found in Russia, Charlie finds a ten-dollar bill, and purchases a Wonka Bar at the local candy store. At the exact moment it is revealed that the Russian ticket was forged, Charlie discovers the real fifth ticket inside the wrapper. Although two other customers offer to buy it from him, Charlie runs home to tell his family and decides to bring Grandpa Joe to accompany him on the factory tour.

Charlie and the other ticket holders are greeted by Wonka outside the factory, who then leads them into the facility. During the tour, each of the bad children disobey Wonka's orders after being tempted by something related to their individual character flaws, and suffer various consequences: Augustus is sucked up a chocolate extraction pipe after falling into a chocolate river from which he was drinking, Violet is turned into an oversized blueberry after chewing unstable three-course-meal gum, Veruca and her father are pushed into a garbage chute by worker squirrels after Veruca tried to take one as a pet, and Mike is shrunk with a teleporter that he uses on himself. Wonka's employees, the Oompa-Loompas, sing a song of morality after each elimination. The children later leave the factory with an exaggerated characteristic or deformity related to their demise – Augustus covered in chocolate, Violet blue-colored and flexible, Veruca and her father covered in garbage, and Mike overstretched.

Wonka then invites Charlie to come live and work in the factory with him, and reveals that the purpose of the Golden Tickets and the tour was to make the "least rotten" child the heir of the factory itself. The only condition, however, is that Charlie must leave his family behind, because Wonka believes family is a hindrance to a chocolatier's creative freedom – a philosophy Wonka developed due to his dentist father, Dr. Wilbur Wonka, denying his son candy because of the potential risk to his teeth. After secretly sampling some candy, Wonka was instantly hooked, and ran away to follow his dreams.

As his family is the most important thing in his life, Charlie refuses Wonka's offer. Charlie and his family are living contently a while later, but Wonka is too depressed to make candy the way he used to, and visits Charlie to seek advice. Charlie helps Wonka confront and reconcile with his estranged father; Wonka finally realizes the value of family, while his father learns to accept his son for who he is and not what he does. Charlie ultimately inherits the chocolate factory, while Wonka has patched up with his family. While Wonka stays in the house in the chocolate factory, Charlie and Wonka make up ideas for some later inventions. The one mentioned in the movie is "Raspberry kites with licorice instead of string."



Author Roald Dahl hated the 1971 film adaptation and refused the producers the film rights to make the sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. Warner Bros. and Brillstein-Grey Entertainment entered discussions with the Dahl estate in 1991 for another film adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, in which they finally found permission in 1998 to purchase the rights. Dahl's widow, Liccy, and daughter, Lucy, received total artistic control and had final privilege on the choices of actors, directors and writers. The main reason why Charlie and the Chocolate Factory languished in development hell since the 1990s was due to the Dahl estate's protection of the source material.

Scott Frank was hired to write the screenplay in February 1999 with the intention of making it closer to the book, as opposed to the 1971 film. Nicolas Cage was under discussions for Willy Wonka, but lost interest. Gary Ross signed to direct in February 2000, which resulted into Frank completing two drafts of the screenplay Both Warner Bros. and the Dahl Estate wanted Frank to stay on the project, but he faced scheduling conflicts and contractual obligations with Minority Report (2002) and The Lookout (2007).

Rob Minkoff entered negotiations to take the director's position in October 2001, and Gwyn Lurie was hired to start from scratch on a new script in February 2002. "I'm going to work straight from the original book and ignore the original movie," the writer said. Dahl's estate championed Lurie after being impressed with her work on another Dahl adaptation, The BFG, for Paramount Pictures (which distributed the earlier 1971 film version of Charlie..., and later sold the rights to WB). In April 2002, Martin Scorsese was involved with the film, albeit briefly, and opted to direct The Aviator instead. Warner Bros. president Alan F. Horn wanted Tom Shadyac to direct Jim Carrey as Willy Wonka, believing the duo could make Charlie and the Chocolate Factory relevant to mainstream audiences, but Liccy Dahl opposed this.

After reaching enthusiastic approval from the Dahl Estate, Warner Bros. hired Tim Burton to direct in May 2003. "It was a bit like the situation on Batman (1989)," Burton reflected. "Warners had the project for a long time, you could see all the different stabs at it. I felt that Scott Frank's version was the best, probably the clearest, and the most interesting, but they had abandoned that." Liccy Dahl commented that Burton was the first and only director the estate was happy with. He had previously produced another of the author's adaptations with James and the Giant Peach (1996), and, like Roald and Liccy, disliked the 1971 film because it strayed from the book's storyline.

"As a child, Dahl was the author who I connected to the most. He got the idea of writing a mixture of light and darkness, and not speaking down to kids, and the kind of politically incorrect humor that kids get. I've always liked that, and it's shaped everything I've felt that I've done."|source=Tim Burton

During pre-production Burton visited Dahl's former home in the Buckinghamshire village of Great Missenden. Liccy Dahl remembers Burton entering Dahl's famed writing shed and saying, "This is the Buckets' house!" and thinking to herself, "Thank God, somebody gets it." Liccy also showed Burton the original handwritten manuscripts. "They were incredible. Roald Dahl was even more politically incorrect than what ended up in the book. Originally," Burton explained, "he had five other kids; he had a kid named Herpes in it." Burton immediately thought of Johnny Depp for the role of Willy Wonka, who joined the following August for his fourth collaboration with the director.

Lurie's script received a rewrite by Pamela Pettler, who worked with Burton on Corpse Bride, but the director hired Big Fish screenwriter John August in December 2003 to start from scratch. Both August and Burton were fans of the book since their childhoods. August first read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory when he was eight years old, and subsequently sent Dahl a fan letter. He did not see the 1971 film prior to his hiring, which Burton believed would be fundamental in having August stay closer to the book. The writer updated the Mike Teavee character into an obsessive video game player, as compared to the novel, in which he fantasized with violent crime films. The characters Arthur Slugworth and Prodnose were reduced to brief cameo appearances, while Mr. Beauregarde was entirely omitted.

Burton and August also worked together in creating Wilbur Wonka, Willy's domineering dentist father. "You want a little bit of the flavor of why Wonka is the way he is," Burton reasoned. "Otherwise, what is he? He's just a weird guy." The element of an estranged father-son relationship had previously appeared in Big Fish, similarly directed by Burton and written by August. Warner Bros. and the director held differences over the characterizations of Charlie Bucket and Willy Wonka. The studio wanted to entirely delete Mr. Bucket and make Willy Wonka the idyllic father figure Charlie had longed for his entire life. Burton believed that Wonka would not be a good father, finding the character similar to a recluse. "In some ways," Burton protested, "he's more screwed up than the kids." Warner Bros. also wanted Charlie to be a whiz kid, but Burton reasoned that "Charlie should be like 90% of us, kids in school who disappear into the background and keep out of trouble."

Prior to Burton's involvement, Warner Bros. considered or discussed Willy Wonka with Nicolas Cage, Jim Carrey, Michael Keaton, and Adam Sandler. Pitt's production company, Plan B Entertainment, however, stayed on to co-finance the film with Warners. Johnny Depp was the only actor Burton considered for the role, who signed on without reading the script under the intention on going with a completely different approach than what Gene Wilder did in the 1971 film adaptation. "Regardless of what one thinks of that film," Depp explained, "Gene Wilder's persona, his character, stands out."

Depp and Burton based Willy Wonka from children's television show hosts such as Bob Keeshan (Captain Kangaroo), Fred Rogers, and Al Lewis from The Uncle Al Show. Depp also took inspiration from Marilyn Manson. Depp based Wonka's look (exaggerated bob cut and sunglasses) on Vogue magazine editor Anna Wintour.

Comparisons were drawn between Willy Wonka and Michael Jackson. Burton joked, "Here's the deal. There's a big difference: Michael Jackson likes children, Willy Wonka can't stand them. To me that's a huge difference." Depp explained that the similarities with Jackson never occurred to him. "I say if there was anyone you'd want to compare Wonka to it would be a Howard Hughes, almost. Reclusive, germaphobe, controlling." Burton agreed with the Hughes similarities, and additionally supplied Charles Foster Kane in Citizen Kane as inspiration. "Somebody who was brilliant but then was traumatized and then retreats into their own world." Depp wanted to sport prosthetic makeup for the part and have a long, elongated nose, but Burton believed it would be too outrageous. During production, Gene Wilder, in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, accused the filmmakers of only remaking the 1971 film for the purpose of money. Depp said he was disappointed by Wilder's comment, and reminded that the film was not a remake, but another adaptation of Dahl's 1964 book.

The casting calls for Charlie Bucket, Violet Beauregarde, Veruca Salt and Mike Teavee took place in the United States and England, while Augustus Gloop's casting took place in Germany. Burton was finding trouble casting Charlie, until Depp, who worked with Freddie Highmore on Finding Neverland, suggested Highmore for the part. Highmore had already read the book before, but decided to read it once more prior to auditioning. "I hadn't seen the original movie before doing Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," the actor explained. "I thought it was better to wait until afterwards because I thought I ought to create my Charlie on my own. I think the original film is good, but I think it's better now because Charlie is kept more closer to the book."



Principal photography for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory started on June 21, 2004 at Pinewood Studios in England. Director Tim Burton and composer Danny Elfman found filming somewhat difficult because they were simultaneously working on Corpse Bride. The Wonka Factory exterior was coincidentally constructed on the same backlot Burton had used for Gotham City in Batman (1989). The ceremonial scene required 500 local extras. The Chocolate Room/River setpiece filled Pinewood's 007 Stage. As a consequence of British Equity rules, which state children can only work four and a half hours a day, filming for Charlie and the Chocolate Factory languished for six months and ended in December 2004.


The architecture of the Bucket family home was influenced by Burton's visit to Roald Dahl's writing hut. Like the book, the film has a "timeless" setting and is not set in a specific country. "We've tried not to pinpoint it to any place," production designer Alex McDowell explained. "The cars, in fact, drive down the middle of the road." The town, whose design was shaped by the black and white urban photography of Bill Brandt, Pittsburgh and Northern England, is arranged like a medieval village, with Wonka's estate on top and the Bucket shack below. The filmmakers also used fascist architecture for Wonka's factory exterior, and designed most of the sets on 360° sound stages, similar to cycloramas. Burton biographer Mark Salisbury wrote that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory "melds 1950s and 70s visuals with a futuristic sensibility that seems straight out of a 1960s sense of the future." The "TV Room" was patterned after photographs from 2001: A Space Odyssey, Danger: Diabolik and THX 1138. Danger Diabolik also served as inspiration for the Nut Room and Inventing Room.

Visual effects

Tim Burton avoided using too many digital effects because he wanted the younger actors to feel as if they were working in a realistic environment. As a result, forced perspective techniques, oversized props and scale models were used to avoid computer-generated imagery (CGI). Deep Roy was cast to play the Oompa-Loompas based on his previous collaborations with Burton on Planet of the Apes and Big Fish. The actor was able to play various Oompa-Loompas using split screen photography, digital and front projection effects.

A practical method was considered for the scene in which Violet Beauregarde turns blue and swells up into a giant 10-foot blueberry. A suit with an air hose was considered at one point for the beginnings of the swelling scene, before the decision was made to do the entire transformation in CGI. The visual effects house Cinesite was recruited for this assignment. In some shots that were shot of AnnaSophia Robb's head, a facial prosthetic was worn to give the impression that her cheeks had swelled up as well. Because this decision was made late in the film's production, any traces of Violet's blueberry scene were omitted from trailers or promotional material.

In the extras section on the DVD, it showed when Violet rocked back and forth looking frightened, at her new size. Unfortunately, the scene was excised and it's on the cutting room floor. Finally, in the final shot, it showed her eyes dart back and forth, groaned, and swayed slightly.

Rather than rely on CGI, Burton wanted the 40 squirrels in the Nut Room to be real. The animals were trained every day for 10 weeks before filming commenced. They began their coaching while newborns, fed by bottles to form relationships with human trainers. The squirrels were each taught how to sit upon a little blue bar stool, tap and then open a walnut, and deposit its meat onto a conveyor belt. "Ultimately, the scene was supplemented by CGI and animatronics," Burton said, "but for the close-ups and the main action, they're the real thing." Wonka's Viking boat for the Chocolate River sequence floats down a realistic river filled with 192,000 gallons of faux melted candy. "Having seen the first film, we wanted to make the chocolate river look edible," McDowell says. "In the first film, it's so distasteful." The production first considered a CGI river, but Burton was impressed with the artificial substance when he saw how it clung to the boat's oars. Nine shades of chocolate were tested before Burton settled on the proper hue.


The original music score was written by Danny Elfman, a frequent collaborator with director Tim Burton. Elfman's score is based around three primary themes: a gentle family theme for the Buckets, generally set in upper woodwinds; a mystical, string-driven waltz for Willy Wonka; and a hyper-upbeat factory theme for full orchestra, Elfman's homemade synthesizer samples and the diminutive chanting voices of the Oompa-Loompas.

Elfman also wrote and performed the vocals for four songs, with pitch changes and modulations to represent different singers. The lyrics to the Oompa-Loompa songs are adapted from the original book, and are thus credited to Roald Dahl. Following Burton's suggestion, each song in the score is designed to reflect a different archetype. "Wonka's Welcome Song" is a maddeningly cheerful theme park ditty, "Augustus Gloop" a Bollywood spectacle (per Deep Roy's suggestion), "Violet Beauregarde" is 1970s funk, "Veruca Salt" is 1960s bubblegum pop / psychedelic pop, and "Mike Teavee" is a tribute to late 1970s British pop (such as Queen) / early 1980s hair bands.

The original motion picture soundtrack was released on July 12, 2005 on Warner Home Video Records.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (film)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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