The Rock almost played Willy Wonka in Tim Burton's remake

Ben Arnold
·Contributor
·2-min read
The Rock meets Willy Wonka (Credit: Paramount)
The Rock meets Willy Wonka (Credit: Paramount)

Willy Wonka would have been considerably more, erm, ripped, had fate dealt a different hand to Tim Burton's version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Dwayne Johnson has revealed how he was in line for the role of the idiosyncratic chocolatier before Johnny Depp ended up channeling Anna Wintour in the 2005 movie.

The Rock dropped the 'cool history' on the occasion of introducing his kids to Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, Mel Stuart's 1971 classic, with Gene Wilder as Wonka.

“Back in the early 2000’s, iconic director, Tim Burton had considered me to play Willy Wonka is his remake, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” he explains in a post to Instagram.

Read more: The Rock raps Moana to daughter with hand-washing lesson

“I remember thinking 'HOLY S**T, IM IN' But that was many years ago when I was just starting out in Hollywood with no foundation of global box office strength or any real acting experience to even pull it off.

Depp as Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Credit: Warner Bros)
Depp as Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Credit: Warner Bros)

“The role, of course went to Johnny Depp, who at that time was the biggest star in the world. The rest was history. And down the road I went. The fact that Tim even considered me (albeit I’m sure he considered for all of 7 seconds:) sure meant a helluva lot to me as I was just breaking in to the business with no idea what the future had in store. I’ll always raise a [glass] to the dreams that don’t come true, because sometimes they’re the best thing that never happened.

“#BigBrownBaldTattooedWonka.”

The Rock isn’t the only actor who has been considered for the role in the past, however.

Before Burton took on the director's chair, Nicolas Cage was in the frame for a time, as was Jim Carrey, under directors Gary Ross and Tom Shadyac.

It wasn't until 2003 that Burton came on board, with backing from the Roald Dahl estate. The movie emerged to box office glory despite some mixed reviews.

Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi is currently developing two animated series, based on Dahl’s original book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, for Netflix. One inspired by the book and the other focussing on the Oompa Loompas.

There is also a Willy Wonka prequel movie in development from Harry Potter producer David Heyman, with Donald Glover and Ryan Gosling linked with the title role.