An audience with Gene Wilder

Trip Start May 18, 2003
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Flag of United States  , Massachusetts
Thursday, March 17, 2005

Gene Wilder was in town tonight promoting his new autobiography "Kiss me like a Stranger". A promotional event was organised at one of the BU auditoriums, which would be followed by book signing. I was not particularly interested in reading his book but was intrigued to see this man who had been making me laugh since I was child.

Mr Wilder took centre stage at the Tsai Performance Center for this live interview in front of a packed audience. It was a ticketed event, but I was lucky enough to get one from Danielle (she has connections).

During the evening there was plenty of applause and cheering whenever any film or actors name was mentioned for the first time. At first this seemed quite peculiar but then I realised that most people in the audience must have been avid fans - some of which had travelled a great distance to be here tonight.

He looked very old (almost feeble) but still had a huge presence on stage. It was fascinating to hear first hand how some of my favourite Pryor/Wilder film scenes were created (the duo mainly improvised). Although they both had a very good professional relationship they never socialised off camera. Gene mentioned that Richard was in poor health now, living in California, but that was all he knew about him. They do not keep in touch.

When questions were fielded from the audience he was asked about the new Tim Burton remake of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory". Mr Wilder said he thought the new version would be scary, but Johnny Depp would be good for the part of Willy Wonka. Gene also inferred that a remake should not have been made at all. When asked if he would appear in the new film he answered "No".
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