Keegan Michael Key Gets Real About Working with Timothée Chalamet in 'Wonka'

timothee chalamet keegan michael key
MICHAEL TRAN/AFP via Getty Images

Millions of fans enjoyed seeing Timothée Chalamet play a master chocolatier in the 2023 film, Wonka—but no one is prouder of him than his co-star, Keegan Michael Key.

The actor and comedian, who plays the Chief of Police in the fantasy film, sat down with PureWow to discuss his new partnership with Choice Hotels and chat all things Wonka. In case you're unfamiliar with the film's plot, it dives into the origin story of the famed Willy Wonka, who eventually launches a successful chocolate factory.

Key told us, "This is a companion piece to the Gene Wilder film, and was made to be seen that way, and then it has all kinds of magical elements. There's this sense about the film where you don't know exactly where you are. You just know that you're in a magical place."

While opening up about the film, Key praised Chalamet's depiction of the young Wonka. He said, "Working with Timothée was amazing. Watching him transform into Willy Wonka was something else, because he moved differently than he does in real life. His cadences, the way he spoke, he really transformed into Willy."

He also addressed the key differences between the younger Wonka and the seasoned chocolatier from the 1971 classic. Key added, "The eccentricities are definitely there, but he's a much more optimistic hopeful person than that kind of cynical character with all the mystique, that we remember as Gene Wilder. Gene Wilder gets to a point where he's ready to get rid of his factory, and here, we're encountering a Wonka who's yet to build the factory and is basing everything in his life on his dreams. It's a really amazing portrayal."

timothee chalamet wonka
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

As Chalamet channeled his quirky side to transform into Willy, Key's character went through a dramatic transformation of his own—and he enjoyed every bit of the process.

"I had so much fun with the hair and makeup team," he told us. "The work that the hair and makeup team and the wardrobe team did for this character was second to none. They were really unbelievable, and I just had a really good time being in the chair with them every day."

keegan michael key wonka
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

While discussing what inspired his partnership with Choice Hotels, Key said, "They have so many different types of hotels in their company that people can use and enjoy in different ways. Any version of you that has to travel, whether you're traveling with family or you're traveling for business, or you're traveling for a romantic getaway with your spouse, they have a choice for you. Collaborating with them has been a real joy."

keegan michael key choice hotels
Choice Hotels

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nakeisha campbell bio

Associate Editor, News and Entertainment

Nakeisha has been interviewing celebrities and covering all things entertainment for over 8 years, but she has also written on a wide range of topics, like career...