The Willy Wonka Event’s Lead Actor Speaks Out: ‘It Was Just Gibberish’

This is where the Unknown is revealed, so we have tension as well.

I arrived on the day. I was like, “So what’s going on with this tunnel?” What they’ve done instead of this incredible, magical starlit tunnel is basically just stapled up some chequered flags into a corridor and put some dirty mirrors that I think they must have found in, like, the toilet or something, just along the corridor. This was meant to be the Twilight Tunnel.

Yes, I saw the illustrations on the website.

You’ve probably seen the videos online. That’s where the infamous Unknown character appears from behind a mirror and starts unnecessarily scaring the kids. There’s no need! There is no need to scare the kids that much. They were scared enough.

Then we went through something called the Imagination Lab, which I think the point was that you’re supposed to imagine it was something better. That was where I was to hand out one jelly bean.

Where does the lemonade come in?

The next room was the Lemonade Room, which sounds amazing. It was just some cheap lemonade, in the bottles still, that was poured. You got a quarter of a cup of lemonade, if you were lucky.

That was the experience, me leading everyone through, just talking gibberish, slowly losing my grip on reality.

There’s something so hilarious to me about a single jelly bean. Why did they have you guys only giving out one?

They didn’t buy enough jelly beans! They didn’t even buy enough lemonade! We had to switch to limeade because we ran out! This is the thing that blows my mind. You know how many people are coming. One jelly bean per customer, that’s tight. Wonka’s a tight-fisted old man.

Can you explain to me what exactly is happening in the viral picture of the Oompa Loompa (sorry, Wonkidoodle)? What is she doing? What’s her purpose at that little desk?

I think she was asking herself the same question. It was meant to be a laboratory where the magical beans are made. She was actually doing science, you know, creating the magical beans.

Women in STEM, yeah.

Yes. I do know it looks like a meth lab, but you don’t know how magical beans are made, you know.

Where is the smoke coming from? What was that?

Something was probably on fire. No, I do think they had a smoke machine. But there was one point where we did smell burning and we were worried that something was on fire.

I kept saying throughout the day, “Someone’s going to get hurt.” There was a bouncy castle on a concrete floor! How no kid just went bounce [smack motion] is beyond me.

What was Coull doing during the event as this was all happening?

Walking in circles was all I kind of saw him do. He was just running around—he should have been the Unknown, actually, because he was pretty good at just, like, appearing out of nowhere, whispering in my ear like, “You’re spending too much time with the kids,” and then disappearing into the night.