Things You May Not Know About: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Before you see Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory on Sunday, September 18, at Lefont Sandy Springs, check out some things you may not know about the classic family musical. Get your tickets for AJFF's one-day remembrance of Gene Wilder at http://AJFF.org/genewildertickets

  1. 1

    On One Condition

    After reading the script, Gene Wilder said he would take the role of Willy Wonka under one condition: that he be allowed to limp, then suddenly somersault, in the scene when he first meets the children. When the director asked why, Wilder replied "from that time on, no one will know if I'm lying or telling the truth." The director asked, "If I say no, you won't do the picture?" Wilder's reply? "I'm afraid that's the truth."

  2. 2

    The Opening

    The opening credits sequence was filmed at a real (Tobler) chocolate factory in Switzerland.

  3. 3

    The Candyman

    Sammy Davis Jr. expressed interest in playing Bill, the candy store owner, but the filmmakers deemed it too kitschy. Furthermore, director Mel Stuart didn't like the idea because he felt that the presence of a big star in the scene would break the film's reality. Nevertheless, "The Candyman", became a staple of Davis' stage show for many years.

  4. 4

    A Real Reaction

    The reactions of the actors in some scenes are spontaneous. For example, when the children first enter the Chocolate Room and see the candy gardens, their reactions are genuine; it was really their first glimpse of that particular set.

  5. 5

    The Boat Scene

    Gene Wilder's acting during the boat ride sequence was so convincing that it frightened some of the other actors, including Denise Nickerson (Violet). They thought that Wilder really was going mad from being in the tunnel.

  6. 6

    You're Turning Violet, Violet!

    Denise Nickerson had a Violet-esque experience in real life. She said in the DVD commentary that one day in math class, kids started pointing at her and laughing. One of her friends told her she was turning purple. The makeup that had been used on her for the film had apparently seeped into her pores and started to resurface. She jokingly remarked, the incident prevented her from getting any dates at school.

  7. 7

    A Creative Solution

    Actress Julie Dawn Cole (Veruca Salt) explains in her memoir "I Want it Now!" that the mixing bike in the Inventing Room was initially meant to be pedaled by an Oompa Loompa. When it came time to film the scene, however, it was discovered that none of the Oompa Loompas' legs were long enough to reach the pedals. Gene Wilder, as Willy Wonka, took to pedaling instead... while singing "Sweet Lovers Love the Springtime".

  8. 8

    Half An Office

    According to director Mel Stuart's book "Pure Imagination: The Making of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory", the reason everything in Willy's office is cut in half was because Stuart couldn't bear the thought of - after having gone through all the whimsical and creative rooms in the factory - ending the movie in an ordinary office. Everything was cut in half to make the room look more Wonka-esque.

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