A Glimpse into the Wonderfully Wacky World of Wonka

Our Report from the World Premiere in London, U.K.

“Quiet up and listen down. Nope, scratch that. Reverse it.”

Before Charlie, and before the Chocolate Factory, there was a man with a dream (and lots of chocolate) – and that man’s name was Willy Wonka. This festive season, we step into a world of pure imagination with Paul King’s musical fantasy Wonka. Starring Timothée Chalamet, Keegan-Michael Key, Olivia Colman, Hugh Grant, Calah Lane, Rowan Atkinson and Sally Hawkins, the film tells the story of how Willy became the world’s most iconic chocolatier.

Warner Bros. flew us out to London to attend the World Premiere in London at the Royal Festival Hall on 28 November and experience three days filled with chocolate, wonder, and whimsy. This is our sweet scoop on all things Wonka that we got up to:


Our day kicked off just like any normal day – with Wonka-themed ice skating at Westfield White City. Everything was on-brand, from the Christmas trees to the hot chocolate. You couldn’t get enough Wonka if you tried. Luckily, there were no Oompa-Loompas trying to steal our chocolate. But that was just the tip of the iceberg (or rink), since later that evening we would be attending the World Premiere.

We arrived at the Royal Festival Hall in Southbank Centre, a 2700-seat venue where the London Philharmonic Orchestra is a resident orchestra, at 5PM. As we made our way to the red carpet, there were already hundreds of fans lined up at the barriers waiting from the morning to catch a glimpse of the iconic cast. The red carpet itself was a spectacular sight – decorated with enormous lollipops, cotton candy clouds, and enough sweets to satisfy Willy Wonka himself. The film had spared no expense in truly bringing imagination to life – props to the prop team.

But all the excitement, glitz and glamour couldn’t compare as we took our seats in the auditorium (where there was, of course, chocolate on every seat). A spotlight emerged, and the cast came out to thunderous applause as they welcomed everyone to the premiere. Once the lights dimmed down, the Warner Bros. logo appeared on-screen, and we heard the first key from the iconic ‘Pure Imagination’ we were instantly transported. After what felt like mere moments later, the lights were back on and the film had ended. Everyone rose to give the film a standing ovation, as cheers, applause and whistles were heard across the enormous hall. Wonka had delivered its promise and beyond – it is unmistakably the sweetest film of the year, and perfect for families this festive season.


Still reeling from the star-studded night, we kick off our morning not with a sugar crash, but an even greater sweet tooth. Fortunately, we were in store for more sweets than we could imagine. At 1:30PM, we were escorted to The Langham, a five-star luxury hotel in London, where we were greeted by the official chocolatier for Wonka – Gabriella Cugno.

Warner Bros. had arranged a private masterclass for us with the chef who handmade *ALL* of the chocolate you’ll be seeing in the film. Gabriella took us through her process in coming up with the different chocolates, how the actors were really eating them on-screen for the first time, and how their genuine reactions can be seen in the film. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, director Paul King said:

“Obviously, actors are good at pretending things, but the miracle was that [the chocolate] tasted every bit as good as they looked.”

Gabriella then proceeded to show us how she created the Hoverchoc, perhaps the most memorable chocolate from the film (warning: side effects may include spontaneous weightlessness). Her painstaking attention to detail in crafting these magnificent treats was fascinating to witness, but frightening once we were given the apron to try it ourselves. In the end, with Gabriella’s help, we were able to make a somewhat adequate piece of chocolate (which still tasted wonderful).


As this dream come true was winding down, we still had one more day left in our trip to experience, which as it turns out, would be the most memorable of all. At 9:45 AM we left Trafalgar Square, where we were staying, and walked ten minutes to The Corinthia, another five-star luxury hotel. There, we were taken into a cozy private hall where we would have a special meet-and-greet with director Paul King, hosted by world-renowned BBC Radio 1 journalist and film critic Ali Plumb.

Paul King took us on a journey of how he became attached to the project, got Timothée Chalamet on board to star in the film, had the remarkable sets practically built (including a giant vat of melted chocolate Timothée and co-star Calah Lane had to swim in), and plenty more sweet tidbits into the world of Wonka. About 30 minutes into the meet and greet, however, there was one last surprise left for us.

Emerging through the doors came Willy Wonka himself, Timothée Chalamet. On his way to a talk show to promote the film, Timothée couldn’t help but generously stop by to say hello. He greeted everyone in the room and proceeded to briefly delight us with stories of his time making Wonka. Speaking on the film, he had this to say:

“It’s so rare to work on something so sweet and generous and joyous. It’s like a little treat of a movie, y’know? I love how good it makes you feel…”

And so, our trip came to an end, but another chapter had only just begun. As we arrive back in Dubai, so does Wonka arrive across VOX Cinemas in the Middle East. Experience it on the big screen in IMAX, MAX, 4DX (with chocolate scents), THEATRE, MOONLIGHT and more. Perfect festive fun for the whole family, grab some popcorn, grab some sweets, and get your tickets here.

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