Splitsider

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Gene Wilder Had a Very Specific Image of Willy Wonka

"The hat is terrific, but making it 2 inches shorter would make it more special," wrote Gene Wilder in a letter to Willy Wonka director Mel Stuart. It seems like throughout the process Wilder had many equally as specific ideas that eventually went on to define his Wonka. On his wardrobe:

"I don't think of Willy as an eccentric who holds on to his 1912 Dandy's Sunday suit and wears it in 1970, but rather as just an eccentric — where there's no telling what he'll do or where he ever found his get-up — except that it strangely fits him: Part of this world, part of another. A vain man who knows colors that suit him, yet, with all the oddity, has strangely good taste. Something mysterious, yet undefined."

Read the full letter from Wilder here. One idea they didn't use, however, was he wanted Wonka to say, "The strawberries taste like strawberries. The snozberries taste like cantaloupe."