To kick off Saturday Night Live, Timothée Chalamet remixed “Pure Imagination,” the iconic song from 1971’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, to celebrate the 118-day actors strike ending and being able to talk about his film projects again.
During his opening monologue, the actor, who is set to star in the upcoming film Wonka, said he felt lucky to be hosting after the SAG-AFTRA strike ended. The union reached a tentative deal with studios and streamers earlier in the week.
“Up until two days ago, and I know this is what we were all thinking about, actors couldn’t talk about their movies,” he said. “The only thing I was allowed to talk about is that I have a commercial coming out. It’s an ad for a perfume, directed by Martin Scorsese.”
“Now let me tell you, when you get that call that Martin Scorsese wants to direct you, the first thing you think is man, I really hope it’s a perfume commercial,” Chalamet quipped.
But since the strike is over, “It’s like we’re all returning to this magical world where actors can once again talk about their projects,” the actor said as the melody to “Pure Imagination” started to play.
“Come with me and you’ll be in a world of shameless self-promotion,” Chalamet sings, referencing the song’s original lyrics with a twist. “It’s OK, I can say … that my new film Wonka is out in theaters December 15th.”
He continued singing, “If you want to view a 3 1/2-hour film, go see Killers of the Flower Moon, or just wait for part two of Dune. Just make sure before to use the bathroom.”
Chalamet went on to sit in the audience to talk about how “refreshing” it is “to be here amongst real human beings” after spending 118 days thinking about artificial intelligence, since it was one of the key points in SAG-AFTRA’s contract negotiations.
“But thanks to the new SAG deal, TV shows can’t just use AI to make it look like a crowd is bigger than it actually is. Isn’t that right, people in the bleachers?” he asked as the screen displayed oddly looking AI-generated people sitting in the stands.
Chalamet continued, “Look, the really important thing is the return of America’s favorite industry: Hollywood.”
But as he starts to break out in song again, SNL castmember Marcello Hernandez interrupts Chalamet on stage to remind the actor of all the things that have in common, especially their baby faces. The duo proceeds to start rapping to an “I got a baby face” song. Punkie Johnson as Nicki Minaj and Kenan Thompson as himself also later joined in on the rap.
Later on SNL, different celebrities auditioned to voice the audiobook for Britney Spears’ new memoir The Woman in Me. While Oscar-nominated actress Michelle Williams is the actual voice reading the audiobook, some SNL castmembers doing celebrity impressions jumped at the chance to audition during the pre-taped sketch.
Chloe Fineman’s Spears kicked off the segment, while other stars prepared for their audition to be the reader of the popstar’s book, including Heidi Gardner’s Allison Janney, Chloe Fineman’s Chalamet, Mikey Day’s Steve-O, Chalamet’s Scorsese, Sarah Sherman’s John Mulaney, Molly Kearney’s Kevin James, Fineman’s Natasha Lyonne, Bowen Yang’s Fred Schneider, Fineman’s Julia Fox, Ego Nwodim’s Jada Pinkett Smith and more.
The Nov. 11 episode was Chalamet’s second time hosting the sketch comedy show, and he was joined by musical guest boygenius.