Director Sam Mendes takes Willy Wonka to the stage

Filmmaker Sam Mendes has been attached to some considerably different projects in the past few years: an adaptation of the PREACHER comic, the next James Bond movie, even a prequel to THE WIZARD OF OZ. But I still didn't see this one coming.

Mendes is planning to bring the pure imagination of Roald Dahl's classic psychedelic candy-coated tale CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY to life -- as a stage musical. According to Deadline, Mendes "has committed himself to direct the musical that will shoot for a holiday 2011 premiere in London. A move to Broadway will follow." Why not? A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.

While the music and sets are being assembled for the production, Mendes reportedly wants to make a feature, but has withdrawn from the OZ pseudo-prequel, which would have paired him with Robert Downey Jr. as the Great and Powerful Oz. Instead, he's hot for a drama called ON CHESIL BEACH, based on Ian McEwan's period novella about virgins. Mendes wants "It Girl" Carey Mulligan (AN EDUCATION, WALL STEET 2) to star.

Meanwhile, the director remains committed to 007's next big-screen mission, whenever the whole MGM mess is resolved.

Extra Tidbit: I'm still waiting for my three-course dinner gum. And still trying to forget I ever saw Tim Burton's version of the story.



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