Why Gene Wilder Quit The Movies

It was in 1991 that Gene Wilder turned in his badge and quit the big screen, his final movie being ‘Another You’ with long-time collaborator Richard Pryor, sadly a critical and box office failure.

But why?

In his final interview, which has resurfaced since his death on Sunday, at the age of 83, he explains why he never acted in movies again.

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Speaking to Robert Osbourne on TCM, he explained that it was the lack of quality roles which were coming his way, not to mention their more modern sensibilities.

“Once in a while, there was a nice, good film, but not very many,” he said.

“If something comes along that’s really good and I think I would be good for it, I’d be happy to do it.

“But not too many came along. I mean, they came along for the first, I don’t know, 15, 18 films, but I didn’t do that many. But then I didn’t want to do the kind of junk I was seeing.”

New formats, and liberal use of swearing didn’t impress him much either.

“I didn’t want to do 3D, for instance. I didn’t want to do ones where it’s just bombing and loud and swearing. So much swearing going on,” he added.

“If someone says ‘Ah, go f**k yourself,’ well, if it came from a meaningful place, I’d understand it. But if you go to some movies, can’t they just stop and talk, just talk, instead of swearing? That put me off a lot.”

Asked what he thought about the Tim Burton version of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, he was equally blunt.

“I think it’s an insult,” he said. “And it’s probably Warner Bros’ insult. I like Warner Bros for other reasons, but to do that with Johnny Depp who I think is a good actor. I like him, but I don’t care for that director. He’s a talented man, but I don’t care for him for doing stuff like he did.”

Wilder appeared a handful of times on the small screen after 1991, in the short-lived sitcom ‘Something Wilder’ for NBC, and other occasional cameo appearances including two episodes of ‘Will & Grace’, the last in 2003.

Last year, there were rumours that Steven Spielberg was courting Wilder to come out of retirement for his adaptation of the book ‘Ready Player One’.

But it was not to be.

Image credits: Paramount/Warner Bros