After a couple of projects he was involved in didn’t quite receive the recognition they were due, the quirky actor was on the lookout for a new project in the hopes that it would be a hit. Reeling from the commercial flop that was “Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory,” Wilder agreed to take on the now-famous role of Dr. Ross in Woody Allen’s new movie.
The 1972 film, titled “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask),” was a commercial success. With a budget of $2 million, the film grossed more than $18 million.
Wilder Hated Tim Burton’s Version of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”
Dahl was within his right to not like Wilder's take on his character. So was Wilder when he confessed to not liking his Wonka successor Johnny Depp. When news broke out that master of gothic fantasy Tim Burton was set to direct a remake of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” people couldn’t wait for its release. Unfortunately, when it finally came out in 2005, it didn’t live up to the hype.
Even Wilder publicly stated that he had hated Burton’s remake, going as far as to call it “an insult.” Wilder said, “Johnny Depp, I think, is a good actor, but I don’t care for that director. He’s a talented man, but I don’t care for him doing stuff as he did.”
Willy Wonka Didn’t Bring Commercial Success
Not all of the classics we currently know and love started off as huge successes. Sometimes it takes some time for people to wrap their heads around greatness. Despite “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” being loved by critics and ultimately gaining a cult following and an Oscar and Golden Globe nomination, the movie wasn’t a box-office success. Wilder was tired of flops since the film he’d worked on previously also didn’t do too well.
Sadly, there were no golden tickets at the end of “Willy Wonka’s” premiere, with the movie making a measly $4.5 million in box-office sales when it spent a budget of $3 million.
Wilder Wrote the Start of “Young Frankenstein”
After starring in Woody Allen’s 1972 hit comedy film, Wilder started to write a script of his own — “Young Frankenstein.” After finishing two pages, he called his friend Mel Brooks to ask for his opinion, to which Brooks simply responded, “it’s cute.” He didn't know it at the time but he was about to become a lot more enthusiastic about this script.
The project was left in the air until finally Brooks agreed to do it, seeing as his last two films hadn’t done well commercially. In 1974, “Young Frankenstein” was released, and it was a huge commercial success.
He Almost Didn’t Star in “Blazing Saddles”
When Brooks was filming “Blazing Saddles,” one of his main actors, Dan Dailey, who was meant to play the Waco Kid, suddenly dropped out. Brooks immediately called his old pal Wilder, who was in London at the time about to start filming for a movie adaptation of “The Little Prince.”
Wilder flew back to the U.S., filmed his scenes for “Blazing Saddles,” and returned to England to finish “The Little Prince.” While not many people remember "The Little Prince," Brooks's "Blazing Saddles" became a classic. Can you imagine the legendary comedy film without Wilder in it? Yeah, neither can we.