Actor Who Said She Played ‘The Unknown’ Is a Fraud

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This week, the world had a collective freakout over “Willy’s Chocolate Experience,” an event in Glasgow, Scotland that ended in tears. Organizers used AI-generated ads that promised $45 Wonka wonderland, but when parents and children arrived, they found a barren, filthy warehouse. Several actors involved with the production came forward to share horror stories, including one woman who said she played a sinister character called “The Unknown.” But now, internet sleuths uncovered a darker truth: this would-be Unknown was a fake.

After the story broke, an actor named Paul Connell, who was hired to play Willy Wonka at the event, posted a series of viral videos about his experience. Among the more salacious details, he described a subplot about The Unknown, a dastardly rival chocolate maker.

“There is a man who lives here. His name is not known, so we call him the Unknown,” Connell said, reciting a line from the show “The Unknown is an evil chocolate maker who lives in the wall,” In a video shared by an attendee, the Unknown emerges from behind a mirror, dressed in black and wearing a sinister mask prompt terrified reactions from children.

(Gizmodo obtained a copy of the unhinged AI-generated script from Willy’s Chocolate Experience. Read it here.)

The internet latched onto videos of the Unknown as an example of just how outlandish and strange the whole affair turned out to be. Days later, rumors swirled that the actress who played The Unknown was preparing to come forward. Then, on Thursday, Manchester-based comedian Jain Edwards posted a video.

“As some of you know, I was the actor who was hired to play The Unknown in the Willy Wonka Glasgow Experience,” Edwards said in the video. “It was kind of funny because just before the doors opened, I turned to the guy who play Willy Wonka, and I was like—I took my mask off—and I was like, ‘Mate, what do us actors get ourselves into?’”

Edwards paused. “I think I looked cool,” she said, pantomiming the hand gestures seen in videos of The Unknown. “I brought that mask from home.”

Some commenters questioned her story from the jump, but as a whole, the response on social media took Edwards at face value, and several online outlets published articles about her video. But then users on X/Twitter started digging into her account. Edwards did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On the day of the Wonka fiasco, February 24th, Edwards posted a photo captioned “Leicester,” a city in England more than 300 miles away. The internet smelled a rat. Users started calling Edwards out in the comments of her Unknown video, but she defended her story. “To the people trying to expose me, wow. the right words are unknown to me right now,” Edwards wrote on X. “Going to console myself with my favorite childhood past time: eating a single jelly bean.” (Children who attended were reportedly given exactly one jelly bean.)

Soon after, X added a Community Note to Edwards’s video about playing the Unknown, a feature which lets users add context to misinformation. One YouTuber promised a video essay with original research exposing the ruse.

By Friday, Edwards admitted her video was a hoax, claiming she’d turned down radio interviews on the subject. “I won’t be following through with my evil plan because I have heard that the person who is allegedly the real Unknown is going to reveal herself,” Edwards tweeted. “I don’t want to either take her spot or put any jokes out there that might come back on her. Hope that’s ok and sorry to waste your time!”

In retrospect, Edwards’ story was obviously meant to be understood as a prank, and a hilarious one at that. “Children were crying, not denying that,” Edwards said in her original video about The Unknown. “But if you could see into their eyes like I could, you would have seen that they were understanding this as quite a powerful piece of theater. You know, as well as being traumatized.”

At the same time, the entire story of the Wonka event was so bizarre it’s easy to see how the hoax might have slipped past some viewers’ radar. For now, the true identity of The Unknown will have to stay unknown.



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