Calah Lane
Credit: Warner Bros.

Wonka Interview: Calah Lane Talks Balloon Scene & Prequel’s Reception

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with Wonka star Calah Lane about her role in the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory prequel. The actress discussed the experience of singing for the film as well as how much fun she had working with Timothée Chalamet. Wonka is now available digitally and will release on 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD on February 27.

“This irresistibly vivid and inventive big screen spectacle will introduce audiences to a young Willy Wonka, chock-full of ideas and determined to change the world one delectable bite at a time — proving that the best things in life begin with a dream, and if you’re lucky enough to meet Willy Wonka, anything is possible,” reads the synopsis.

Tyler Treese: The “For a Moment” song is a highlight of Wonka. Were there ever any nerves singing?

Calah Lane: Oh yeah, definitely A lot of nerves singing. I mean, everybody was saying I sounded great, but I was very nervous. I mean, it was the first time I’ve ever sung in front of a bunch of people like that. Everybody’s professional, everybody has their own thing that they’re doing, so they’re not really worried about me. But still, I was very nerve-wracked, especially when I was singing in front of the giraffe, which wasn’t a giraffe. [Laughs].

When I was singing in front of the giraffe, because I had an earpiece in, nobody heard any music. They just heard me singing. I could only hear the music, so I had no idea if I was cracking because the music was in my ear. I had no idea if I was cracking or all that stuff. So that was nerve-wracking too. And I was asking them, “Could you put it on the speaker?” And they’re like, “No, it’s better in the ear.” I was like, “Okay.” [Laughs].

The balloon scene at the end of that song is the definition of real movie magic. What was your reaction when you saw how that turned out? It’s a spectacular visual, and it works on an emotional level as well.

It’s crazy because we weren’t outside when we filmed that. [Laughs]. We weren’t outside, first of all. We weren’t standing on top of a building. We were flying, but we didn’t even have balloons. There weren’t balloons on the ring that he was holding. It was really crazy how they put the CGI into those balloons. Seeing that was just incredible.

It felt like I was actually Noodle watching that. I was like, “I’m Noodle in this thing.” I watch it now and I’m like, “Wow, I did that a long time ago, and I’m still watching it.” It’s just crazy. I love it.

What’s so great about your role is that the emotional core of this movie is really Noodle and, Willy’s bond that grows over time. What did you like most about those two characters and how close they became as friends?

One thing that I like about Noodle and Willie is that Noodle kind of feels like the parent, then Willy’s like the one that she’s teaching. She’s showing him around. She’s like, “Okay, so let’s teach you how to read. Let’s do this. Okay, you go do this.” And I love that about her and I love their relationship. I love their brother and sister relationship and they go back and forth with each other and they’re always telling jokes to each other. I feel like that was like me and Timmy’s relationship on set, also. So it was cool.

Did did you have to get Timothée in-line? Were you teaching him as well while filming Wonka?

Yes, I was teaching him a bunch of things. I was like, “Okay, so this is how you do this. This is how you do that.” [Laughs]. Yeah, he definitely learned a lot from me. [Laughs].

The response to Wonka has been phenomenal and it just had such a great run in theaters. What has really stood out to the reception and seeing people really celebrate this new take and the music being so beloved as well.

Yeah, I love that people love it. It’s just crazy to even be a part of this. One moment that I knew that people were going to love this movie is at the premiere in England when we were listening — I wasn’t even watching the movie. because I think I’d already seen it two times before or something like that, but I was just listening to the audience. I was watching the movie, of course, but I was hardly thinking about the movie. I was just thinking about the audience and they were laughing at every joke and they were laughing at this and they were crying at this and it was just so cool to watch and hear.

Timothée’s such a big star — what stood out about him as a scene partner in Wonka? You guys worked off each other so well.

He’s definitely a very fun guy. He is definitely very good about getting into his character. There’s one thing I like about him — he likes to ask questions. He likes to put in his input. He likes to say his opinion. One thing I also like is that Paul [King, director] wanted anything that we wanted. He was like, “Okay, you can do that. We can try that.” He wasn’t like, “You’re doing this. That’s it. Stick to the script.” He wasn’t like that.

That’s one thing that I like about Paul also. But Willy — I mean Timmy! I called him Willy on accident. [Laughs]. But to me, he’s such a great scene partner, and we always had fun together.

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