10 Astonishing Things You Didn't Know About Iconic Movie Scenes

10. Gene Wilder Only Agreed To Play Willy Wonka If He Was Allowed To Somersault In During The Character's Grand Entrance - Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory

Willy Wonka Gene Wilder
Paramount Pictures

Gene Wilder, who played the iconic role of Willy Wonka in the movie adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic children's book, took the cliched Demanding Actor trope a step further when he went temporarily crazy and made an incredibly specific request regarding his own casting. If his request was denied, he would refuse the role. So what was it? Money? An easy work schedule? Nope, he was insistent on doing a somersault.

Here's what he wrote in a letter to the director of the movie before he was cast:

"When I make my first entrance, I'd like to come out of the door carrying a cane and then walk toward the crowd with a limp. As I walk toward them, my cane sinks into one of the cobblestones I'm walking on and stands straight up, by itself; but I keep on walking, until I realize that I no longer have my cane. I start to fall forward, and just before I hit the ground, I do a beautiful forward somersault and bounce back up, to great applause."

Why, you're wondering, was this the only thing that Wilder wanted in exchange for his casting? No idea, except for the fact that - in his own words - "from that time on, no one will know if I'm lying or telling the truth."


Articles published under the WhatCulture name denote collective efforts of a number of our writers. Go Team!