Willy Wonka
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka

Comparision of the voice over actors who have been the voice of Willy Wonka with sound clips and images.
Franchise: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka is an eccentric candymaker who owns and runs the titular factory in Roald Dahl's classic novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Some time after closing his factory off to society due to industrial espionage, Wonka hides five Golden Tickets in five randomized chocolate bars worldwide. The children who discover the tickets are invited by Wonka to participate in a tour of his factory. Throughout the tour, Wonka tempts the five children into eliminating themselves from the tour by exploiting their individual personal flaws.
Created by CatsTuxedo on Jan 31 2012
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Willy WonkaJames Arnold Taylor
James Arnold Taylor
Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (2017)
Willy WonkaJohn Paul Karliak
John Paul Karliak
Willy WonkaMaurice LaMarche
Maurice LaMarche


Although LaMarche's version of the character lacks the sinister edge that Wonka had in the original book, his giddy and charismatic side is played quite well for the purpose of the Wonka advertisements in which he starred in. On a miscellaneous note, I can't help but notice how similar LaMarche's inflections here are to the infamous Dr. Rabbit of Colgate fame. Taylor, while doing a passable job imitating the sound of Johnny Depp's voice as the character, comes off as a bit flat compared to the performance he's basing his take on. It might have to do with the fact that the character in the game was written to be more gleeful and benign than his portrayal in the movie, which really only removes the awkward, troubled edge that allows Depp's version of the character to leave such an impression. I'm going to go with LaMarche here.



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said at 11:58 AM on Tue Aug 22 2017
 3 Shout Outs!
1. Maurice LaMarche
2. John Paul Karliak
3. James Arnold Taylor

LaMarche's performance is the most similar to Wilder's very charming, classic, and sincere take, so I'm going with him.

Karliak, yeah, he lacks that enthusiasm Wilder had, but he's good too otherwise.

Taylor's spot on to Depp...which sadly puts him last here for me, not that his performance was bad because it's great since that's what he is going for, but I find the Johnny Depp Wonka kind of creepy so...it's more my personal bias here than anything.
EPA Deane
said at 1:34 PM on Tue Aug 22 2017
@WrightWay I honestly believe that Taylor has the vocal range to do a Gene Wilder impression.....
said at 10:28 AM on Fri Aug 25 2017
@EPA Deane
Oh, definitely! It's the direction they wanted Taylor to go in to emulate Depp here, not his fault at all.
said at 2:25 PM on Mon Aug 14 2017
 7 Shout Outs!
Taylor does a bang on impression of Depp's twisty take on Wonka but that's all it is, a impression on one of Depp's many characters.

Karliak also did a good impression of Wilder and his singing is wonderful to hear though he lacks the unpredictable delivery that Wilder charmed us with in the original classic.

LaMarche however just makes it his own. A charming, fun and whimsical take that truly makes him the best of the Wonkas.
said at 9:15 PM on Sun Aug 13 2017
1 Maurice- he actually sounds like how I picture book Wonka- light hearted and very weird

2 John Paul Karliak- he's alright if a bit too serious at times, his singing is his strongest aspect

3 James Arnold Taylor- I'll give that he's better than Johnny Depp but he is stuck with a version too young and pretty and 'hollywood' for his own good
said at 11:38 PM on Sat Aug 12 2017
 4 Shout Outs!
It's weird, John Paul Karliak sort of reminds me of both Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp, even the design looks like Depp Wonka's head on Gene Wilder's body, it's so surreal.
said at 9:52 PM on Wed Aug 9 2017
 2 Shout Outs!
1. Maurice LaMarche- He makes his own character as Wonka instead of imitating Wilder or Depp. It sounds fun and whimsical, similar to how he would act in the book. I personally think that it would be awesome to hear him voice Wonka in an animated adaption of the book.
2. James Arnold Taylor- He does a great imitation Depp's Wonka, but his acting as the character falls flat and doesn't fit the performance that was similar to the remake.
3. John Paul Karliak- He can sing like Wilder pretty well and some of his delivery is really good, but the problem is that he lacks emotion in some parts. Like other people have said, he lacks the emotion for the "You lose" rant. It sounds more like he is mildly annoyed instead of outraged at someone breaking the rules. It's okay, but he could have done better.
said at 7:21 PM on Wed Aug 9 2017
 7 Shout Outs!
Maurice LaMarche does a really good job at delivering his own take on this charismatic candymaker. He's tons of fun and I think he could pull off a version closer to the book character.

James Arnold Taylor and John Paul Karliak both do good with their respective takes, but they do have some problems.

Taylor is doing a Johnny Depp impression, and I've never been fond of Depp's take. Although I must say that I think Taylor is a little bit better than Depp 'cause he doesn't feel as creepy as Depp played him.

Karliak is doing a Gene Wilder impression, and even though he has some solid delivery and his singing is spot on, he lacks the most important element that Wilder had: his unpredictable delivery. Whenever Wilder played Wonka, he always had this tendency to deliver lines in a way that awed us, and I feel that Karliak lacks that unpredictability.
said at 8:54 PM on Tue Aug 8 2017
 6 Shout Outs!
Karliak's Wilder impression is only okay. It's not a bad performance in its own right, but there are small parts in the delivery where it's a bit too clear that he's more voice-acting than organically being in the moment ("Count to three", "So shines a good deed...", "He lived happily ever after"), and his big "You lose" moment lacks the potency that the performance he's imitating had; he comes off as more moderately peeved than outright blowing his top.
said at 9:16 AM on Wed Aug 9 2017
@CatsTuxedo Yeah, forgot to mention. That "YOU LOSE" moment just felt meh. I know it's hard to live up to Mr. Wilder, but the voice direction could've been way better.
The Doctor
said at 1:55 PM on Tue Aug 8 2017
 10 Shout Outs!
I like the balance of this voice compare. We have one Gene Wilder impersonator, one Johnny Depp impersonator and one guy doing his own take.
said at 12:25 PM on Tue Aug 8 2017
 2 Shout Outs!
Please tell me using that face for Wonka was intentional XD

Anyways, voting for LaMarche
Nightmare Crusher
said at 7:42 AM on Tue Aug 8 2017
 4 Shout Outs!
JP Karliak is kind of stuck in a weird place. JP's obviously bootstrapped to the Gene Wilder version of Wonka, but he really doesn't sound like Gene. It's weird. Their singing voices are fairly similar though and that might be why JP got the part.
said at 5:49 PM on Mon Aug 7 2017
 2 Shout Outs!
Maurice really gives Wonka life in those commercials. He really makes the character everything you'd expect; eccentric, hyperactive, and all around fun to listen to.

JAT does a fine job impersonating Johnny Depp.. and that's it. It's really just a good Johnny Depp impression. No offense to his wonderful talent and impressions, but the character Depp gave was pretty creepy and Michael Jackson-like, not any fault of JAT.

John Paul Karilak (not here) was impersonating Gene Wilder's take, and it wasn't too bad. I guess it's just that both JAT and JP both had to live up to performances that were just what the actors in the movies created. Still, JP did a fine job emulating Gene, and his "Pure Imagination" song was sweet.

I'm giving it to Maurice LaMarche.
said at 7:40 PM on Thu Jan 5 2017
 1 Shout Out!
JAT does a good Johnny Depp impression. Maurice doesn't try to hard to impersonate Gene and instead makes the character his own. I think I prefer Maurice here.
said at 9:25 AM on Tue Aug 30 2016
 2 Shout Outs!
Maurice LaMarche by far! Never liked Johnny Depp's version, so I can't say I'm fond of JAT's take.

RIP Gene Wilder.
said at 11:19 AM on Thu Apr 7 2016
 2 Shout Outs!
Maurice LaMarche is exactly how I'd imagine Willy Wonka to sound like and of course his performance is quite fun to listen to.

James Arnold Taylor I'm sure could have been a better Willy Wonka if he weren't voice matching for the Johnny Deep version. I never liked Depp's version, he was just creepy and uncomfortable, it worked for that version but I never at all like Tim Burton's version of the classic story.

I definitely preferred Gene Wilder's more fun and whimsical take in the original movie and because he reminds me of him so, I'll be going with Maurice LaMarche.
said at 5:22 PM on Sat Sep 26 2015
 1 Shout Out!
I haven't seen Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka, so I don't really have an option on James Arnold Taylor's. But I see Wonka as a more whimsical type of character, so I'm going with Maurice.
said at 1:24 AM on Tue Mar 3 2015
 1 Shout Out!
I definitely prefer Maurice LaMarche's performance here, but James Arnold Taylor does a great job channeling Johnny Depp's performance from the movie version.
said at 2:08 PM on Wed May 28 2014
 2 Shout Outs!
This all comes down to which version of the character you prefer, traditional or Tim Burton's. JAT does an admirable Depp impersonation, but Maurice is the book character translated perfectly to screen.

Gotta hand it to Maurice and give him my vote.
said at 3:09 PM on Thu Nov 21 2013
It's Maurice LaMarche for me, but OMG James Arnold Taylor does an awesome Johnny Depp impression, which is funny because he also does Johhny Test!!
said at 10:50 AM on Wed Aug 22 2012
Both were good but Maurice is more Wonka-ish, agreeing with Galactic's comment.
said at 5:51 PM on Thu Feb 16 2012
James did a nice job imitating Johnny Depp
Honestly it sounds like Johnny Test grown-up
said at 3:46 PM on Fri Feb 3 2012
 1 Shout Out!
Defenitely agree with PurpleWarrior's comment.

Plus, Maurice LeMarche sounds exactly how I imagine the Wonka of the book to sound; his voice is described as "high and flutey", which is what Maurice delivers perfectly.
said at 7:32 PM on Tue Jan 31 2012
Both are pretty good in their own way. The interpretations are different and were constructed for different reasons, so for me, there's no way to make a decisive call here.
said at 6:46 PM on Tue Jan 31 2012
 5 Shout Outs!
Maurice has always been fantastic as Wonka! He sounds whimsical and playful in a good way! James Arnold Taylor is a great VA, and his Depp impression is great, but that version of Wonka has always creeped me out (give me Gene Wilder and Maurice LaMarche any day).
said at 9:07 PM on Sun Apr 8 2012
@PurpleWarrior13 Yeah LaMarche did a fantastic job honestly it sounds like an imitation of Wilder
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Who do you think has been the best from these Willy Wonka voice actors?
Maurice LaMarche
James Arnold Taylor
John Paul Karliak