The Unknown Star of the Viral Willy Wonka Experience Unmasked

The Unknown Star of the Viral Willy Wonka Experience Unmasked

  • By Katy Scott
  • BBC Scotland News

3 hours ago

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Felicia played the role of the unknown in her first paid acting job

A teenage actress who starred at a canceled Willy Wonka-inspired event in Glasgow said she was shocked by the reaction to her scary character.

A video that has been viewed millions of times shows the mysterious figure emerging from behind a mirror in front of whimpering children.

But it has now been revealed that The Unknown is 16-year-old Felicia from Glasgow.

And she's thrilled that her first paid acting job has gone viral.

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

Felicia told BBC Scotland News: “It was so ridiculous it was actually funny.”

Ahead of last month's event, organizers House of Illuminati announced a “journey full of wondrous creations.”

Willy Wonka was a fictional chocolatier who ran a contest for lucky finders of a golden ticket to visit his factory.

But visitors hoping to relive the classic books and films – including the 1971 original starring Gene Wilder – were sorely disappointed when they arrived at a sparsely decorated warehouse.

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

The children were offered half a cup of lemonade and a small portion of gummy bears on their trip to the imaginary candy factory.

Parents paid up to £35 per ticket but were so horrified they called Police Scotland.

Within hours, the event was abruptly canceled, leaving some families unable to enter at all.

According to the script, said to be the result of artificial intelligence, The Unknown was an evil rival to a chocolate maker who lives within walls.

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The Glasgow event featured a character called The Unknown, who does not appear in the traditional Willy Wonka storyline

The story is about his attempt to steal Willy's “anti-graffiti gobstopper.”

Felicia was originally cast in the lead role of Willy McDuff – seemingly inspired by Willy Wonka – before choosing The Unknown.

Last week, a video went viral on social media showing the villain, dressed in a silver mask and black cape, emerging from behind a mirror in front of unhappy children.

The teenager said: “There were no rehearsals. I arrived early to practice, but it wasn’t prepared.”

“The actors came later and it was still not prepared.

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

The actors were told to improvise that day, so Felicia waited behind the mirror for each of the three Willy McDuff characters to come along with their group.

She said: “My character made no sense without Wonka explaining who I was, that I was the Unknown, an evil chocolate maker living within the walls.”

“So I just sat behind the mirror and tried to look scary because that was the only instruction I was given.

“There were definitely mixed reactions. Some people loved it, some people were afraid of it.”

“But I think most people didn't really know what I was there for – and that was true for me too.”

“It went so wrong”

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

She recalled: “The first few runs actually went quite well because there was order.”

“But people dragged themselves in and then everything went wrong.”

“In the room next to the mirror, one of the Wonkas had been there for about an hour and he hadn't left, and the other two Wonkas had just disappeared.

“During that time more and more people came and it grew and grew.

“I sat behind the mirror and texted my mom saying things were going so wrong.”

Felicia said each Wonka led a group of about 60 people and often not everyone could fit in one room.

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

“It worked really well and would kind of make sense with the plot.”

“But that didn’t happen every time, so sometimes I just had to awkwardly walk back to my corner.”

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Felicia revised her text before the doors opened to the public

Felicia revealed that she still has the costume from the event and said it was “pretty funny” that people were asking about it.

After the experience ended, the actors went to the pub for a debriefing.

She recalled: “When we came back there was just a big, huge mob outside.

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

But despite the backlash, Felicia said the reaction has been largely positive.

She added: “At first I was really embarrassed. But when we went to the pub afterwards we just laughed about it.”

“It was so ridiculous that it was actually funny.

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

“Everyone loves the character and posts about it, so it makes me happy that people can see the funny side.”