Look back as Hollywood descended on St Albans to film new Wonka movie

Warner Bros took over St Albans to film the new Wonka movie.

Warner Bros took over St Albans to film the new Wonka movie. - Credit: Terry Harris / Pearce Bates

We look back on last week after Hollywood descended on St Albans to film for the latest Warner Bros film, Wonka! 

Crews on set preparing for snowy scenes in Wonka.

Crews on set preparing for snowy scenes in Wonka. - Credit: Pearce Bates Archant 2022

As rumours grew that the film was to be filmed across St Albans, excited residents kept their eyes peeled for ‘Wonka Watch’.

Vans and production vehicles started to appear near Verulamium Park and Abbey Mill Lane from February 24 and park-goers eagerly anticipated the transformation to come.  

Warner Bros production lorries setting up ready for filming. 

Warner Bros production lorries setting up ready for filming. - Credit: Angie Cronin, Sophie Banks

A bright multi-coloured carousel adorned with cuddly toys appeared by the lake alongside zoo signs for a ‘giraffehaus’.

By Abbey Mill Lane, a large set was built with a secret doorway.

The secret doorway read ‘nachtgehege’ which translates from German to ‘night enclosure’.  

Fans speculated lead star Timothée Chalamet may use the doorway to enter scenes.  

A secret doorway set up by production.

A secret doorway set up by production. - Credit: Cinzia Gello

The bright multi-coloured fairground stall set up by the lake in Veralumium Park. 

The bright multi-coloured fairground stall set up by the lake in Veralumium Park. - Credit: Cinzia G

Tracks were laid by lorries around the lake in Verulamium Park, over the next days, dozens of vehicles and hundreds of crew members descended on the areas.

A lone white marquee set up days earlier, was joined by several trailers where the stars were getting ready to film.

A source told The Herts Advertiser that the white marquee was to be used for indoor filming. 

Some of the trailers and marquees set to be used by crews.

Some of the trailers and marquees set to be used by crews. - Credit: Pearce Bates Archant 2022

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Residents-favourite Verulamium Park will soon be a fan-favourite as Warner Bros transformed the springtime greenery into a winter wonderland.

Fake snow was laid across the greens by the lake at Verulamium Park and a wind machine flurried the snow into the air.

Black vintage lamppost lighting and bulbs were fitted around the lake which residents hoped would stay in place when filming ended. 

An aerial view of the transformation of Verulamium Park. 

An aerial view of the transformation of Verulamium Park. - Credit: Terry Harris

St Albans joins a long list of other cities and towns in England where the film has been shot so far: Bath, London, Oxford and Lyme Regis.  

One of the classic cars used in the Wonka film.

One of the classic cars used in the Wonka film. - Credit: Pearce Bates Archant 2022

Excitement revved up a gear as more classic cars appeared on filming day (March 3).

Security cordoned off sections of Verulamium Park and Abbey Mill Lane from the public.

Cranes with large lights were put in to the park as well as a rubber boat, which were used by film crews later that day.  

Jim Carter omn the set of Wonka,Verulamium Lake, St AlbansThursday 03 March 2022. Picture by Terr

Jim Carter on the set of Wonka in St Albans. - Credit: Terry Harris

Dozens of members of the public waited patiently on Abbey Mill Lane to spot some of the stars working their movie magic.

As extras appeared in vintage clothing costume, fans watched on eagerly.

Stepping on to scene Downton Abbey star Jim Carter OBE greeted fans with open arms and a huge smile.

He walked on to scene wearing a bowler hat and three-piece blue and grey suit carrying a tan leather briefcase.  

Jim Carter OBE as he waved to fans.

Jim Carter OBE as he waved to fans. - Credit: Terry Harris


Other stars in the film include Hugh Grant, Rowan Atkinson and Olivia Colman.  

Hollywood heartthrob Timothée was still yet to appear when he was spotted walking through sets wearing a hoody and baseball cap.

Crowds of fans and teenage girls squealed with delight as the lead actor cheerily waved at them.  

Timothee's first appearance in St Albans.

Timothee's first appearance in St Albans. - Credit: Terry Harris

As day turned in to night Timothée was yet to make an appearance in costume as Willy Wonka.

After working hard for days on end, crews finally started filming the snowy scenes at 9.30pm at night.

Some dedicated, eagle-eyed fans stayed to see Timothée Chalamet arrive in his costume dancing and singing across the fairground set.

He wore a classic Wonka look: a purple three-piece suit with top hat.  

More exciting scenes of Timothee filming Wonka.

More exciting scenes of Timothee filming Wonka. - Credit: Terry Harris

Production worked in to the night and crews began dismantling the Warner Bros production the next morning.

The teams worked quickly to clear the sets and props leaving behind a muddy aftermath.

Hollywood filmmakers Warner Bros have made a “substantial donation” to St Albans City and District Council that is “well into five-figures" for enhancements and improvements at the park.  

Timothee filming scenes as Wonka.

Timothee filming scenes as Wonka. - Credit: Terry Harris

The family musical film is set to be released in March 2023. 

To read all of our updates from the Wonka filming in St Albans, visit: www.hertsad.co.uk/topics/wonka-watch