2020 Oscar-winning screenwriter Taika Waititi has secured the golden ticket to write, direct, and executive produce two original animated series based on celebrated author Roald Dahl‘s classic works. Netflix has announced the closing of the deal with Waititi on Thursday.
The first animated series will be based on the universe and characters of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, where Charlie and a group of other young contest winners have a once-in-a-lifetime chance to explore Willy Wonka’s infamous chocolate factory. The second series is described as a completely original take on the Oompa-Loompas, the small song-loving minion-humans who work in Wonka’s factory.
Dahl’s book has been adapted into various forms of musicals and movies, the most famous being the Gene Wilder-starring 1971 classic, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The 2005 version starring Johnny Depp and directed by Tim Burton is also a well-known remake, and a recent West End stage production broke sales records. In 2018, Netflix made a deal with Dahl’s estate, which, on top of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, includes an attempt to adapt other Dahl classics like Matilda, The BFG and The Twits.
Ever since Jojo Rabbit, Waititi has become a huge household name in Hollywood because of his quirky and timelessly witty filmmaking and writing style. According to Hollywood Reporter, Gideon Simeloff, commercial and entertainment director of Roald Dahl Story Company, expressed excitement over Waititi’s deal with the project: “There is something undeniably Wonka-esque about Taika’s creative flair and inimitable sense of humor and we cannot think of anyone more perfectly suited to leading the creative charge on these first of their kind, feature quality Netflix shows.”
Melissa Cobbs, the vice president of original animation at Netflix, agrees: “If Dahl had created a character of a filmmaker to adapt his work, I’m pretty sure he would have created Taika.” Attaching Waititi to this Netflix project seems like a match made in heaven, since Dahl’s storytelling also captures fantastical wordplay, unique characters, and playful energy.