Actor Spills Bonkers Details About Willy Wonka Event That Had Parents Calling Cops

“Willy's Chocolate Experience” promised kids an “immersive experience” but fell very short.

An actor who was hired at the last minute to play Willy Wonka at a knock-off “immersive experience” for the film “Wonka” is revealing new details about the children’s event that was executed so terribly that police were called to the scene by outraged parents demanding refunds.

“People were shouting, people who put on the event were crying. There were arguments, people running around everywhere — the set had been trashed,” Paul Connell told the Independent.

Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka in the film “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” in 1971.
Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka in the film “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” in 1971.
Silver Screen Collection via Getty Images

Over the weekend, photos and videos shot at “Willy’s Chocolate Experience” in Glasgow, Scotland went viral on social media. Photos include sparse props placed haphazardly in a mostly empty warehouse and AI-generated backdrops pinned sloppily to walls. A video features children being terrified by a weird cloaked character in a metallic mask.

All the event seemed to be missing was an unhinged Wonka yelling, “You get nothing! You lose! Good day, sir!

One social media user described the scene as looking like a “meth lab.”

A parent who attended the event said it also included a lackluster “candy station that dispersed one jelly bean per child,” per the Independent. But Connell told the outlet the confection offerings were much more bleak.

“We were told to give [kids] one jelly bean and a quarter cup of lemonade,” he said. “No chocolate at the chocolate experience. There was supposed to be a chocolate fountain somewhere but I never saw it.”

“In some ways, it was a world of imagination,” Connell said. “Like imagine that there is a whole chocolate factory here.”

Connell, who said he was hired a day or two before the event, told the outlet that he had a feeling that it was going to be a disaster as soon as he received the script for a dress rehearsal.

“The script was 15 pages of AI-generated gibberish of me just monologuing these mad things,” he said.

“The bit that got me was where I had to say, ’There is a man we don’t know his name. We know him as the Unknown. This Unknown is an evil chocolate maker who lives in the walls.”

Connell added that at the end of his monologue he “was supposed to suck up the Unknown Man with a vacuum cleaner.”

But on the day of the event, he wasn’t given the prop.

“I asked them if they had a vacuum cleaner and they said, ‘yeah, we haven’t really got there yet, so just improvise,’” he said.

Even Timothée Chalamet, who plays the titular role in 2023’s “Wonka,” is embarrassed.
Even Timothée Chalamet, who plays the titular role in 2023’s “Wonka,” is embarrassed.
Neil Mockford via Getty Images

Connell told the outlet that although he was one of three actors hired to play Wonka, he played the role for “three and a half hours straight” although he was told he’d get a 15 minute break every 45 minutes. When Connell eventually took lunch, he ate it in his car and stared at the floor to avoid seeing the crying children.

He said when he came back, a mob had formed and things were becoming chaotic.

He decided to huddle with the two other Wonkas and a nearby Oompa-Loompa and all four decided to walk out.

“It was actually getting quite dangerous for us,” Connell said. “But it was heartbreaking, to be honest.”

In a statement to the Guardian, the company that put on the event, House of Illuminati, apologized to customers for the “very stressful and frustrating day.”

“Unfortunately, last minute we were let down in many areas of our event and tried our best to continue on and push through and now realise we probably should have cancelled first thing this morning instead,” the statement reads.

The organizers also told the Guardian that full refunds would be given to customers.

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