Gene Wilder, the star of the 1971 film Willy Wonka The Chocolate Factory, made a rare public appearance in New York on Thursday night during which he slammed the 2005 Tim Burton remake of the classic film.
The remake, titled Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (same as the Roald Dahl book both films are based on), starred frequent Burton collaborator Johnny Depp in the title role. The film was a box office success and received mostly positive reviews.
But one of the negative reviews definitely comes from Wilder, who played the “Willy Wonka” character in the original film.
I think it’s an insult,” the 80-year-old retired actor said. “It’s probably Warner Bros.’ insult.”
Wilder has made negative comments about the film in the past. During a 2005 interview with The Guardian, he said:
“It’s all about money. It’s just some people sitting around thinking: ‘How can we make some more money?’ Why else would you remake ‘Willy Wonka’? I don’t see the point of going back and doing it all over again.”
During his Thursday evening appearance at New York’s 92Y, Wilder added to his original comments, particularly slamming Burton’s choices as director.
“Johnny Depp, I think, is a good actor, but I don’t care for that director,” he said. “He’s a talented man, but I don’t care for him doing stuff like he did.”
Wilder hasn’t made a film since 1991’s Another You with Richard Pryor. He has explained in previous interviews that he simply didn’t like where the film business was heading, but added to those comments in an interview with MovieFone.
“After a while, [films] were so dirty. Once in awhile, there was a nice, good film, but not very many,” Wilder said. “If something comes along and it’s really good and I think I’d be good for it, I’d be happy to do it. Not too many came along. I mean, they came along, but I didn’t want to do them. I didn’t want to do 3D, for instance. I didn’t want to do ones that were just bombing and swearing. If someone says ‘Ah, go f*ck yourself,’ if it came from a meaningful place, I’d understand it. But if you go to some movies, can’t they just stop and talk once in awhile?”
You can check out more from the in-depth interview here.
Are you a fan of Gene Wilder? Which Willy Wonka film do you prefer?