Prior to Tim Burton’s involvement, Warner Bros., since the 1990s was trying to make a new version of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. During this time, a lot of directors and actors were considered, or had interest to play Willy Wonka:

1. Robert De Niro
2. Bill Murray
3. John Cleese
4. Christopher Walken
5. Michael Palin
6. Leslie Nielsen
7. Michael Keaton
8. Robin Williams
9. Eric Idle
10. Dustin Hoffman
11. Brad Pitt
12. Dwayne Johnson (Tim Burton’s second choice after Johnny)
13. Ben Stiller
14. Mike Myers
15. Patrick Stewart
16. Adam Sandler
17. Marilyn Manson (Personal interest with a devilish version)
18. Will Smith
19. Steve Martin
20. Rowan Atkinson
21. Nicolas Cage
22. Jim Carrey

Ps. Even Michael Jackson, according to his brother, Jermaine’s, book “You Are Not Alone”, was all set to campaign for the Wonka role.

Tim Burton immediately thought of Johnny as his first and one choice for the role of Willy Wonka, but knowing about Johnny’s busy schedule, if he couldn’t make it, his second choice was going to be Dwayne Johnson.

Thankfully, Johnny accepted in a blink of eye.