Londoner's Diary: Chocolate next for Paddington director King

Bin the marmalade and pass the choccy: it looks like the director of Paddington has got a golden ticket. Paul King, who helmed the two acclaimed films about the lovable bear, will soon take on another British classic: he is in talks to direct a new adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The Hollywood Reporter claims that US studio Warner Bros is working on Willy Wonka, a reimagining of the Roald Dahl novel. Paddington producer David Heyman is involved, and has apparently lined up King to bring the eccentric chocolatier to life. King’s pre-Paddington credits include The Mighty Boosh and Bunny and the Bull, and his interpretation of Michael Bond’s stories became big hits: the latest, which holds an unprecedented 100 per cent positive rating on review website Rotten Tomatoes, was a big winner at last week’s Evening Standard Film Awards. 

The coupling of King with the mind of Dahl is a sure success. The novel has already inspired two film adaptations — one starring Gene Wilder, pictured below right, the other Johnny Depp — as well as a hit musical that ran at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. And it seems that Warner Bros is confident in Dahl’s magic touch. It’s already working on a new version of The Witches — The Shape of Water’s director Guillermo del Toro has a script. 

Details of the Willy Wonka story, written by Simon Rich, are sparse but the Wonka-centric working title, and rumours of a planned franchise, suggests that the new version may focus on  his origins and  adventures. 

We’ll see if it ends up leaving a bad taste in any purists’ mouths.

Happy Birthday to the Financial Times, which turns 130 today. Pink’ Un journalist Josh Spero notes that it’s  130 years of reporting “without fear and without favour”. How to celebrate? “I hope we get cake,” Spero continues. “Knowing @FTCakeTrolley,  it’ll probably be without fear and without flavour.” The Londoner doesn’t know whether to applaud the pun or be stunned that the FT’s cake trolley has its own Twitter account.

Christmas chippings and belated cheer

IF IT’S good enough for Harry and Meghan, it’s good enough for the warthogs at London Zoo. Late last year, the newly engaged couple were seen in Battersea, picking up a Christmas tree from Pines and Needles. Now, having done its best for the kingdom, the company is doing its bit for the animal one.

The supplier has just dropped off 19 tonnes of wood chippings, created from the leftover firs, at the zoo in Regent’s Park, which Aziza and Pig — the resident warthogs — use for warmth and foraging. Crackling.

Quote of the day

Mum’s the word: Daniel Kaluuya (Photo by Dan MacMedan/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

“I’ve got to give her the opportunity to flex.” Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya says he’s taking his mum as his date to The Oscars as a thank you for her support.

New York hosts The Party’s after-party

Party people: Patricia Clarkson, Emily Mortimer and Sally Potter (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

IT’S PARTY time for The Party. The film, which came out in the UK last year, was screened in New York last night. It follows Janet, played by Kristin Scott Thomas, who throws a soirée to celebrate her promotion to the shadow cabinet. Scott Thomas wasn’t able to get to last night’s bash but co-stars Emily Mortimer and Patricia Clarkson, and director Sally Potter, who won an Evening Standard award for the film last week, showed up. 

On screen, the party descends into chaos amid a flurry of conflict and Brexit talk. Thankfully, the fun last night was both strong and stable.

Top trolling  by the Turks. They’ve renamed the US Embassy’s street in Ankara after Operation Olive Branch, the codename for their recent foray into Syria. The Londoner recalls getting a visa at the US Consulate in Kolkata on  Ho Chi Minh Street. Should  we revive this spirit of passive- aggressive street naming for the new embassy  at Nine Elms?  The British did once capture Washington and burn down the White House.  The War of 1812 Junction has a certain ring to it.

Flip-flop in Westminster

Political pancakes: Alastair Stewart (Press Association)

Westminster’s annual Rehab Parliamentary Pancake Race 2018 took place this morning. The drizzly weather didn’t deter the usual tossers from the world of politics and media with newsreader Alastair Stewart, right, acting as adjudicator: “Now this is  not quite Monza or Silverstone. Judges are keeping a close eye on elbows and hip barges. No biting or gouging — it’s a non contact sport.” 

Labour MP Bambos Charalambous thought there’s a conspiracy: “There’s more journalists because it’s the recess, I think that was a plot from the journalists putting Shrove Tuesday in recess”. 

As a response to this, Politics Home’s Liz Bates told The Londoner: “Yes, that’s true — they’ve caught us and now we’re going to win”. Labour’s Rupa Huq laments that politicians get a bad rep. “People say Parliament is full of tossers. Here we’re proving it in spades.”  

The winner was the Sun’s Tom Newton Dunn.

Tweet of the day

Vogue’s features director Giles Hattersley fears cryptocurrency is taking over

Front Row seat of the day for Mary Beard. As The Londoner said last week, she was lined up to be  the new sole presenter of the BBC2’s Front Row, late night on Fridays. It has just been confirmed. Top ticket.

Has Cara fallen in love with herself?

Some people wear their heart on their sleeve. Cara Delevingne just puts hers on a mirror. The model posted  this shot on Instagram this morning, just a day before Valentine’s Day. Who could she be thinking of?

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