As the world mourns the passing of Gene Wilder, I am reminded of the films that shaped my youth, specifically Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Young Frankenstein and Blazing Saddles (which I saw in theatres).
As it turns out, Mr. Wilder gave up Hollywood and pursued a life of writing instead. I found this short interview from Time Out New York from 2013, and some of his comments really resonated with me. Here’s a few of them (italics my emphasis):
- On acting: “I’m tired of watching the bombing, shooting, killing, swearing and 3-D. I get 52 movies a year sent to me, and maybe there are three good [ones]. That’s why I went into writing. It’s not that I wouldn’t act again. I’d say, ‘Give me the script. If it’s something wonderful, I’ll do it.’ But I don’t get anything like that.”
- On writing: “I like writing. I like being at home. I write in my study, get up at 12:30 or 1pm, have a cup of tea, give my wife a little kiss, come back in and write some more, and then at 3:30 or 4 say, “That’s enough.” I come back before dinner and see what I did and say, “No, no. Why did you write that?” And then I rewrite it. I believe honestly that there’s no such thing as writing—there’s only rewriting.”
Mr. Wilder, thanks for your contribution to the world. It certainly helped shape mine.
Check out Mr. Wilder’s books on Amazon.com.