Sam Mendes casts Douglas Hodge as Willy Wonka in stage musical of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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Hodge - who starred in the BBC drama Bert and Dickie - is following in the footsteps of Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp in his portrayal of Willy Wonka.

Sam Mendes has cast the Olivier Award winning actor Douglas Hodge as Willy Wonka in his £10 million stage production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Hodge is following in the footsteps of Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp who played Roald Dahl’s chocolate factory owner in Mel Stuart’s 1971 film and Tim Burton’s 2005 follow-up.

The 52-year-old actor, originally from Plymouth, Devon – who is currently on Broadway starring in a revival of Cyrano de Bergerac – starred alongside Reese Witherspoon in 2004 film Vanity Fair and Russell Crowe in Ridley Scott’s adaption of Robin Hood in 2010He can next be seen on the big screen playing Paul Burrell in the Diana, Princess of Wales biopic directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel and starring Naomi Watts.

Earlier this year he starred in the BBC drama Bert & Dickie, about the 1948 London Olympic rowers Bert Bushnell and Dickie Burnell.

With the exposure provided by Mendes, Hodge may see his stock rise in film circles at a comparatively late stage of his career.

Songs for the show will be written by Mark Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who wrote the musical Hairspray that was adapted into a film by Adam Shankman in 2007.

The new musical will open at London’s Theatre Royal next May.

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