Based on the characters from the 1964 novel titled ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ by Roald Dahl, ‘Wonka’ is the third movie in the film franchise, consisting of ‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory‘ and ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ adapted from the book. Co-written and helmed by Paul King, the musical fantasy movie serves as the origin story of Willy Wonka, portrayed by Timothée Chalamet. The narrative follows a young and poor Wonka who dreams of opening his very own shop in a city known for its chocolate.
Soon, the young chocolatier finds out that the industry he holds so dear is run by a bunch of greedy chocolatiers. Now, he must step up to save the day and change the world for the better. Not only does the bunch of interesting locations in the backdrop keep the viewers entertained, but they also keep them guessing where ‘Wonka’ was filmed.
Wonka Filming Locations
Several sites across England, primarily Watford, Oxfordshire, and London, were transformed into the fantastical land of ‘Wonka.’ Other English locations include Dorset, Bath, St. Albans, and East Sussex. The filming of additional portions also took place in Paris, France. As per reports, production of the Timothée Chalamet starrer got underway in September 2021 and wrapped up several months later, seemingly in the first quarter of 2022. So, let’s head to the magical land and learn about all the specific sites that appear in the movie!
The shooting for a major portion of ‘Wonka’ was carried out in the town and borough of Watford, which is situated in England’s Hertfordshire. Since the production of the film demanded some high quality and advanced level of visual effects, the filming unit decided to set up camp in the Warner Bros. Studios Leaveden on Warner Drive in the town of Watford and utilized the facilities of the film studio for their advantage. They reportedly constructed the enormous exterior King’s Door on the back lot, alongside several other expansive sets.
Sprawling across approximately 400,000 square feet, Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden is home to 19 different sound stages and two of the largest water tanks in all of Europe, making it the perfect venue for filmmakers to build the most ambitious of sets. A few locales of Watford also feature in some scenes of ‘Wonka.’
In December 2021 and February 2022, the production team of ‘Wonka’ was busy taping important scenes in Oxford, which is the only city in England’s Oxfordshire. The University of Oxford, which is located on Wellington Square in Oxford served as one of the prominent production locations for the Paul King directorial. Many different areas of the university campus were utilized for lensing a bunch of pivotal sequences, including the Radcliffe Camera, Hertford College, and Hertford Bridge AKA Bridge of Sighs.
In addition, the director and his team even took over the small village of Mapledurham for a while. Situated beside the River Thames in southern Oxfordshire, the civil parish was used to shoot several flashback scenes against the backdrop of the picturesque canals and lush greenery of the surroundings.
Various key parts of ‘Wonka’ were also recorded in the capital of England and the United Kingdom — London. In order to shoot the scenes involving the hidden entrance to the chocolate cartel, the cast and crew utilized the premise of St. Paul’s Cathedral. Given its hard-edged elegance, the church made for the perfect backdrop for the chocolate cartel. During the shooting schedule, they were also spotted in and around the Rivoli Ballroom at 350 Brockley Road in London. The director and his team also set up camp at a London site near Eltham Palace to shoot the scenes set in Slugworth’s office and the secret ledgers.
Other Locations in England
Apart from Watford, London, and Oxfordshire, the cast and crew also set up camp at various other places in England. A few scenes were lensed at The Cobb, the mesmerizing harbor wall in the quaint seaside resort town of Lyme Regis located on the Jurassic Coast in west Dorset. Widely known as the “Pearl of Dorset,” the town is renowned for its history, beautiful locales, and for being home to exceptional fossil remains. To recreate the magical charm of the winter in the film, the team used artificial snow and metamorphosized the dynamic city of Bath in Somerset County in the southwest part of the country in October 2021.
In particular, filming of the sequence wherein Willy marches towards Scrubbit and Bleacher was done at the iconic 50,000 square feet former shopping complex called The Colonnades at North Parade. Reportedly, the bridge was constructed on the backlot of the property. The Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, The Parade Gardens, as well as the early-18th century Orange Grove also doubled up as shooting sites for the fantasy film. For the purpose of filming a few sequences, several areas in St Albans, Hertfordshire, were utilized by the production unit. The 100-acre space of the Verulamium Park at St. Michael’s Street was worked upon by the art and production department using artificial snow, lights, and a little bit of CGI.
Some scenes were lensed at one of England’s oldest pubs, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, at Abbey Mill Lane in the city. Meanwhile, the zoo in the film was reportedly constructed using the facilities provided by a soundstage and Cardington Airfield, the historic airfield site in Bedfordshire. A minor portion of the shooting was also done at the Bodiam Castle in the beautiful village of Bodiam, near Robertsbridge in East Sussex. Embellished with stunning landscape and architectural design, the majestic 14th-century medieval castle is considered one of the most romantic tourist attractions in the United Kingdom.
For the purpose of shooting, the production team of ‘Wonka’ also traveled all the way to the City of Lights and the capital of France — Paris. From the looks of it, some important exterior scenes were lensed in and around the Grand Palais des Champs-Élysées, simply known as Grand Palais, at 3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower in the city of Paris. Some more popular Parisian landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower, might also feature in the backdrop of a few key sequences.