Gene Wilder’s One Stipulation To Play Willy Wonka Wound Up Being Iconic

According to MovieWeb and many other sites there was one stipulation that sealed the deal for Gene Wilder when he suggested it, and it turned out to be one of the most watched moments in the entire movie when it came out since it set the tone for pretty much everything moving forward. When the kids come into possession of the golden tickets and are escorted to the factory by their relatives it becomes obvious that the place is a bit less cheerful than anyone might have expected, and the first image of Willy Wonka is that of a man that has been worn down and somehow beaten in a way since his limp and his cane would indicate that he’s not entirely well. But when he trips, does a somersault and comes back to his feet none the worse for wear and with no limp it’s understood that he was just playacting, and that it’s uncertain just what will be the truth and what is illusion. To think that out of the entire movie this one scene was what Wilder wanted to change in order to make things turn out a little differently than expected is kind of funny really since one might easily gloss over it as Wonka being a bit goofy and wanting to psych the kids out at first. But thinking that it had any deeper motivation behind it isn’t exactly something that a lot of people were really focusing on. After all, there was so much more to the movie that people were likely to think it was just a quirky moment and nothing more.

There were portions of the movie that were quite odd, such as the boat scene in which Wonka appeared to go mad for a bit, which was improvised if you can believe that. The other actors on the boat were actually a bit terrified of Wilder at that point and it’s not hard to believe this since he looked as though he’d gone mad at that point. Even the moment in the office when Wonka yelled at Charlie and his grandfather was improvised since according to the writers at Mental Floss he’d rehearsed the scene in a much calmer voice. Apparently he shouted during the take to get an honest reaction out of both of them, and it obviously worked. There are a lot of interesting facts about the movie that have been released over the years, some of which are just flat out trivial and others that are actually kind of amusing. For instance, the original Oompa Loompa’s were black pygmies in the book, but thanks to the Civil Rights movement the producers didn’t want to venture down that road and make it look like a movie that had something to do with slavery, so they were given their iconic look.

As for the chocolate river, it was water with food coloring and cocoa powder mixed in, and the poor kid that played Augustus Gloop said it tasted terrible. Plus, the ‘river’ actually started to smell rather pungent after a while. The many facts that can be gleaned from this movie are pretty entertaining since as much fun as it appeared to be, there were quite a few illusions that went on during the making of the movie and Wonka’s ability to walk on his own was only one of them. But it was an important matter to Wilder who wanted to give the impression that everything Wonka did from that point on would be questioned as to whether he was being honest or if he was lying in some vague manner. It is a part of the movie that a lot of people weren’t likely to catch right off the bat, but it’s also something to consider when moving forward through the story since one would have to wonder at Wonka’s true motives and why he brought the kids there in the first place.

It does make a person wonder if Wilder would have really walked away from the movie if this one stipulation would have been denied, doesn’t it? Actors have walked away from movies for many reasons in the past, sometimes apparently for no reason at all other than ‘creative differences’ that in the minds of many people are a bit ridiculous. But the fact of the matter is that those in charge likely saw the wisdom in this move and went along with in order to keep the actor and to see what would happen. Obviously they felt better when people actually enjoyed the moment and didn’t pay it as much thought as they could have, as it did likely put people into a different mindset than they would have employed had Wonka simply walked out under his own power or continued to hobble along.

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