Beyond ‘Wonka’: Bringing Alive Roald Dahl’s Mischievous International

LONDON — The gray doorway within the Marylebone neighborhood here is unmarked, but for eleven phrases spelled out throughout the pinnacle rail: “The best secrets are constantly hidden in the most unlikely places.”

Roald Dahl, the darkly resourceful twentieth-century kids creator behind “Charlie and the Chocolate Manufacturing facility,” wrote that line, and it was published above the door by using his heirs, who from the small set of workplaces within are aggressively seeking out ways to globalize, digitize and monetize his wackily wondrous works.

The intention, as the estate prepares to rejoice the Sept. 13 centennial of Dahl’s delivery, is wildly bold: to have every baby in the Global engage with a Roald Dahl story.

To get there, the estate, with a group of workers overseen via the author’s 30-12 months-antique grandson, is shifting a long way Past the books that made him well-known: 23 television, film, and stage projects are in improvement, as well as a Dahl-themed invention kitchen and ebook-inspired apps.

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In partnership with the Dahl property, McDonald’s gave out alternatives from Dahl stories with Satisfied Meals in Britain; a laundry detergent, Persil, joined forces with the property to induce kids to have a “messy journey”; and Boden is introducing a Dahl-associated series of youngsters’ apparel. There’s a classical song arm, too. (One end result: The composer Benjamin Wallfisch wrote an orchestrated version of “Grimy Beasts.”)

The property is coming off a disappointment with “The BFG,” a movie directed by way of Steven Spielberg that fizzled at the yank box office this summer, even though it opened strongly in Britain and there are symptoms of a higher reception international. The following high-stakes pass: a Broadway switch for a musical version of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” that’s being notably transformed, with a brand new director, because the London model, no matter drawing audiences, failed to wow American critics and theater professionals.

The Dahl property’s movements come as literary estates are navigating the virtual age, hoping to use technology and storytelling systems to influence new generations of readers (and visitors) that a deceased creator continues to be relevant and thrilling while being conscious that overkill or poorly selected tasks ought to damage the works’ lengthy-term fee and attain.


Dahl is nice acknowledged for five books, including, further to “Charlie” and “The BFG,” “James and the Massive Peach,” “Matilda” and “The Witches,” but there are 18 kids’ memories in fascinated about which the property is in search of to build a target market.“We are sincerely transferring from being a literary estate to being more of a tale business enterprise, and that could be a bit of a scary factor for some people,” he brought. “That doesn’t imply that we’re now not still going to reflect onconsideration on the books as our guiding mild. It just manner that we’re additionally thinking, How do we get these brilliant words and memories into youngsters’ bedrooms, and into their minds and imaginations, in many methods?”

Mr. Kelly said the property donates a minimum 10 percent of its proceeds to charity; he would not talk revenue specifics, pronouncing its budget are private. He said the property has been searching out collaborators “inside the highest league in their field,” with “a hint of darkness” in addition to “an information of the Britishness of the testimonies.”

Amongst the ones the property chose in current years: Tim Minchin, an Australian comic and musician, who changed into tapped to put in writing the score for “Matilda the Musical.” Mr. Minchin, an established Dahl fan who grew up on his books and has examined them to his personal kids, stated adapting Dahl is “a reasonably large challenge” that requires converting episodic testimonies into dramatic narratives and including enough emotional punch to lead them to shift for adults in addition to pleasing for kids.