In what amounted to be his final interview, Gene Wilder sat down with Turner Classic Movies host Robert Osborne at 92nd Street Y in New York City in June 2013. In light of Wilder’s death earlier this week, the interview has received renewed attention, specifically for Wilder’s candid comments on Tim Burton’s 2005 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory adaptation.
“I think it’s an insult,” Wilder said of the Johnny Depp-starring remake. “Johnny Depp, I think, is a good actor, but I don’t care for that director [Tim Burton]. He’s a talented man, but I don’t care for him doing stuff like he did.”
Wilder of course starred in the original Willy Wonka in 1971, a role which would define his brilliant career. Equal parts quirky, devious, and sincere, his portrayal of the titular character has been cherished for generations the world over and remains part of the Hollywood lexicon. A full 10 years after its release, the same cannot be said about Burton’s remake, which exuded none of the warmth or charm of Wilder’s more endearing version, as Editorial Director Matt Melis explained in a recent installment of Page to Screen.
Elsewhere in the interview, Wilder discussed his retirement from film in 1991.
“After a while, [films] were so dirty. Once in awhile, there was a nice, good film, but not very many. 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?”
Watch the full interview below.