Gene Wilder's Imaginative Genius Led To One Of The Greatest Scenes In Willy Wonka

An insight into the late actor's genius mind

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Following the sad passing of Gene Wilder, many have reflected on some of his best roles, with his whimsically wonderful Willy Wonka in particular springing to mind.

As if the role could be improved upon, a letter has come to light from Letters of Note where Gene Wilder makes a demand about the entrance of the chocolate factory owner.

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"As I walk towards them," he suggests, "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."

When asked why, Wilder responded that, "From that time on, no one will know if I'm lying or telling the truth." 

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In another letter to the film's director Wilder also weighed in on Willy Wonka's outfit explaining that Willy Wonka is, "A vain man who knows colors that suit him, yet, with all the oddity, has strangely good taste. Something mysterious, yet undefined." He also specifically says: "The hat is terrific, but making it 2 inches shorter would make it more special."

Wilder's struggle with alzheimer's was kept private by his family because he would not have wanted young children who knew him as Willy Wonka, "To be exposed to an adult referencing illness or trouble. He simply couldn't bear the idea of one less smile in the world.'

Wilder was clearly was other-worldly in the most wonderful way.