Depp Dips into Chocolate as Willy Wonka

08/20/2003 2:21PM

Time for the Oompa Loompas to start dancing again: Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton are bringing candy man Willy Wonka back to the big screen.

The "Nightmare Before Christmas" filmmaker and the "Pirates of the Caribbean" star will team up for a fourth time with a movie remake of author Roald Dahl's classic "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" -- which was originally adapted into the 1971 movie musical "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory," starring Gene Wilder.

Depp will follow in Wilder's footsteps, playing Wonka in the new version to be released by Warner Bros. (which, like PEOPLE, is part of AOL Time Warner). Charlie is the young boy who wins a pass to visit the dreamlike -- and sometimes nightmarish -- candy kitchen.

Depp, 40, who previously collaborated with Burton, 44, on "Edward Scissorhands," "Ed Wood" and "Sleepy Hollow," was offered the role after a meeting with the director, Variety reports. Contract negotiations are expected to get underway soon, and two of the film's producers are a married couple who aren't exactly unknown: Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston.

Also onboard with the project is Michael Siegel, who represents the estate of the late Dahl, who reportedly wasn't totally happy with the 1971 "Wonka."

Although that film did receive mixed reviews at the time of its release (especially for the Leslie Bricusse-Anthony Newley musical score and the often snail-like pace), the film has stood the test of time with fans, and its DVD is considered a collectible.

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