April 15, 2024


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The unknown star of Willy Wonka's viral experiment has been revealed

The unknown star of Willy Wonka's viral experiment has been revealed

  • Written by Katie Scott
  • BBC Scotland News

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Felicia starred as The Unknown in her first paid acting job

A teenage actress who played a prominent role in a canceled Willy Wonka-themed event in Glasgow said she was shocked by the reaction to her creepy character.

One of the video clips, which has received millions of views, shows the mysterious figure appearing from behind the mirror to children complaining.

But now the unknown person has been revealed as 16-year-old Felicia, from Glasgow.

She is thrilled that her first paid acting job has gone viral.

The villain was met with confusion around the world as the unknown was noticeably absent from the plot of Roald Dahl's classic children's book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

“It was very ridiculous, actually funny,” Felicia told BBC Scotland News.

In the lead-up to last month's event, organisers, House of Illuminati, announced a “journey full of amazing creations”.

Willy Wonka was a fictional chocolatier who ran a contest for those who could find a lucky golden ticket to visit his factory.

But visitors hoping to revive the classic book and films — including the original 1971 film starring Gene Wilder — were sorely disappointed when they arrived at the sparsely decorated warehouse.

The event was held last weekend on an industrial estate in Whiteinch, where the actors tried to make the most of some sad-looking props and a small bouncy castle.

Children were offered a half cup of lemonade and a small serving of jelly beans on their trip to the imaginary candy factory.

Parents paid up to £35 for a ticket but were so horrified they contacted Police Scotland.

Within hours, the event was abruptly cancelled, leaving some families unable to attend at all.

According to the scenario, said to be the result of artificial intelligence, the unknown was an evil rival chocolatier living in the walls.

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The Glasgow event featured a character called “The Unknown” who is absent from the traditional Willy Wonka plot

The story involves him trying to steal Willie's “Anti-Graffiti Gobstopper”.

Felicia was originally cast in the title role of Willy McDuff – who appears to have been inspired by Willy Wonka – before The Unknown was cast.

A video of the villain, wearing a silver mask and black cape, emerging from behind a mirror at unhappy children, went viral on social media last week.

“There wasn't any practice. I got there early to practice but it wasn't ready,” the teenager said.

“The actors came later and were not prepared yet.

“We were all saying it was chaos and there was no organization, but we were just hoping it wouldn't be that bad together. But it was.”

The actors were asked to improvise that day, so Felicia waited behind the mirror for each of the three Willie Macduff characters to pass by with their group.

“My character would have had no meaning without Wonka explaining who I was, that I was the Anonymous, the evil chocolatier who lives in the walls,” she said.

“So I was sitting behind the mirror trying to act scary because that was the only direction I was given.

“It was definitely a mixed bag of reactions. Some people loved it, some people were terrified by it.”

“But I think most people didn't really know why I was there, and it's the same for me.”

“It was going very wrong.”

Felicia said her concerns about the performance increased just 45 minutes after the doors opened.

“The first few rounds worked really well because there was a structure to it,” she recalled.

“But people were scattered and then things went wrong.

“In the room next to the mirror, one of the Wonka members had been there for an hour straight and wouldn't leave while the other two just disappeared.

“During that time more people were coming, and it just piled up and piled up.

“I was sitting behind the mirror and texting my mom saying things were going terribly wrong.”

Each Wonka led a group of about 60 people and it was often not possible to fit them all into one room, Felicia said.

She added: “One of the other Wonkas made up a story that if the kids made a silly face at me, I would get scared and hide in my corner.

“That worked really well and would kind of make sense with this plot.

“But it didn't happen every time, so sometimes I had to awkwardly retreat to my corner.”

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Felicia reviews her lines before opening the doors to the public

Felicia revealed that she still has the outfit for the event and said it was “so funny” that people were asking for it.

After the experiment was over, the actors went to a bar to debrief.

“When we got back there was a big crowd outside,” she recalled.

“There were four police cars outside. It was really crazy.”

But despite the backlash, Felicia said the response has been generally positive.

She added: “At first I was really embarrassed by it. But when we went to the bar afterwards, we were just laughing about it.”

“It was so silly, it was actually funny.

“And now it's gone viral, it's really changed my life and I'm really glad I did it.

“Everyone loves the character and posts about it, so I'm glad people can see the funny side.”

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