The tributes and homages to the late actor Gene Wilder have been flooding in since the announcement of his death yesterday at the age of 83.
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It’s safe to say that this man was greatly loved and respected in the acting world and was the star of a long list of absolute hits.
One of the roles that he is greatly remembered for was the film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s ‘Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory’. And while it was one of his most iconic characters, it turns out that Gene had a specific demand that he made before confirming he would play the character. He insisted:
When I make my first entrance, I’d like to come out of the crowd carrying a cane and then walk toward the door with a limp.
After the crowd sees Willy Wonka is a cripple, they all whisper to themselves and then become deathly quiet.
As I walk towards them, my cane sinks into one of the cobblestones I’m walking on and stands straight up, by itself, but I keep on walking, until I realise I no longer have my cane.
I start to fall forward, and just before I hit the ground, I do a beautiful forward somersault and bounce back up, to great applause.
OK, yeah, so that was quite a funny scene. But it’s his reason that really makes this whole thing so special:
Because from that time on, no one will know if I’m lying or telling the truth.
This just proves that Gene went above and beyond when playing a character. He didn’t just read out the lines – he truly added to the psychological portrayal of that person. That one detail laid out the complexity of Willy Wonka for the rest of the film. Pure genius.
RIP Gene – you were a true legend.
To watch a Willy Wonka remix, click HERE.