With the loss of Gene Wilder, everybody is in a hurry to look back on the life and career of the comedic legend. This includes the later portions of his life that weren’t as clear in the public eye. This interview from 2013 with TCM’s Robert Osborne, the star’s last major sit down chat, is making the rounds at numerous outlets and gives us a little insight on why Wilder quit acting all those years ago. It also clears up his thoughts on Tim Burton’s remake of Willy Wonka in Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. As it turns out, he was not a fan and he also didn’t think much of Johnny Depp’s portrayal:
“I think it’s an insult,” Wilder went on to say. “Johnny Depp, I think, is a good actor, but I don’t care for that director. He’s a talented man, but I don’t care for him doing stuff like he did.”
As for his career, it turns out that Wilder was just turned off by the trends he was seeing in the films he was being offered. You can’t blame him either. Once you’ve reached the stature he did with his career, you can be particular with the work you do:
“Once in a while, there was a nice, good film, but not very many,” he said. “If something comes along that’s really good and I think I would be good for it, I’d be happy to do it. But not too many came along. I mean, they came along for the first, I don’t know, 15, 18 films, but I didn’t do that many. But then I didn’t want to do the kind of junk I was seeing. I didn’t want to do 3D, for instance. I didn’t want to do ones where it’s just bombing and loud and swearing. So much swearing going on. If someone says ‘Ah, go f— yourself,’ well, 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, just talk, instead of swearing? That put me off a lot.”
The entire chat is pleasant and showcases the older Gene Wilder that many didn’t get to see. It’s also just a nice time with a comedic genius, which is hard to find fault in.