Hey there you Oompa-loompas, roll me around all you want, it won't do the wonders of a nice prick... Pin prick that is. I got this update from Kristine, the chief goddess of the official Roald Dahl website, and Gary... Expect a call from me tomorrow! Mesa wanna know more! Yesa mesa dosa. "Mesa Dosa?" Sounds like a snakey thing to do. Eeeeeek... pun hell.... Run run for your lives.... Here's Kristine...
My name's Kristine and I've been following your Wonka remake tidbits for a while now. They seem to have tapered off lately, though, so I thought I'd fill you in on some details I picked up today. See, I have a website devoted to Roald Dahl (RoaldDahl.Org) and recently I was contacted by his estate about the official site they're working on, domain names, etc. The end result is that I've just come back from lunch with Felicity Dahl (his widow) at her apartment in London (where I work). She's an awesome lady and she was kind enough to answer several of my questions about the remake. Since she didn't say anything about confidentiality, I'm assuming it's all right to pass this along...
First of all, THE REMAKE *IS* HAPPENING. It's true. Scott Frank is currently working on the script but they're not looking to actually start production until autumn at the earliest. (She also said that meant that it probably wouldn't be released until at least a year after that, if now two.) They don't have any of the roles cast yet, but they have decided on who they want to direct: GARY ROSS (who wrote/directed "Pleasantville"). He hasn't formally signed on as director *yet*, but he's supposedly working as a "consultant" assisting Frank on the screenplay. As for the rumors about Nic Cage playing Wonka... Liccy wouldn't rule it out. Basically, the deal was set up so that the family/estate have final say on the scriptwriter, director, and lots of other details, but the studio gets to pick an "A" list star to headline the picture. Liccy actually said that her ideal choice would be Dustin Hoffman (now there's an idea!), but the studio nixed him as "not popular enough." Another glaring example of Hollywood stupidity. Hoffman would make a kickass Wonka and apparently was all excited about the possibility of playing him too. The same thing happened with the original film: Dahl wanted some British comedian named Spike Milligan to play the candymaker, but he was overruled and Gene Wilder got the job. Liccy also confirmed that Dahl HATED the resulting film (and Dahl purists myself aren't too fond of it either). I guess she's prepared to concede the leading role in this one just to make sure that the overall vision is the one Roald would have wanted.
Anyway, that's really all of the confirmed details I have to report. Liccy mentioned something about music at one point, but I'm not sure whether that meant they would be setting Dahl's original poems to new music or writing new ones altogether. She also showed me some original artwork from Henry Selick's "James and the Giant Peach" and a videotape of footage from a new commercial Danny DeVito is doing to publicize a Dahl charity event. She and I will be in contact in the future, so if I find out anything new I'll let you know.