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Anorak | Gene Wilder writes a gentle critique of his Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory costume

Gene Wilder writes a gentle critique of his Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory costume

by | 12th, June 2012

WHEN Gene Wilder was picked to play Will Wonka in the 1970 film  Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, he wrote to directer Mel Stuart about the sketehs for his costume:

July 23rd

Dear Mel,

I’ve just received the costume sketches. I’ll tell you everything I think, without censoring, and you take from my opinion what you like.

I assume that the designer took his impressions from the book and didn’t know, naturally, who would be playing Willy. And I think, for a character in general, they’re lovely sketches.

I love the main thing the velvet jacket and I mean to show by my sketch the exact same color. But I’ve added two large pockets to take away from the svelt, feminine line. (Also in case of a few props.)

I also think the vest is both appropriate and lovely.

And I love the same white, flowing shirt and the white gloves. Also the lighter colored inner silk lining of the jacket.

What I don’t like is the precise pin pointing in place and time as this costume does.

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

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Posted: 12th, June 2012 | In: Film Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink