The Passion of Gene Wilder

“I thought of [the Monster dancing to] Puttin’ on the Ritz, and I said to myself, now Mel’s going to smile!  And he said, ‘Are you crazy?  It’s frivolous, it’s self-indulgent. You can’t just suddenly burst into Irving Berlin and Puttin’ on the Ritz.’

Well, he took a chisel and cracked my heart. First I argued. And we never argued. But.. I argued softly. Then, I stated arguing vehemently. Maybe for thirty, forty minutes… I had done research on this — I had gone to psychiatrists and everything— research about nerves and reflexes and how you could test them, and what kind of movements would help and then I translated that into comic behavior. And Mel just said, ‘Okay. It’s in.’ I was stunned. I said, ‘Why didn’t you just say that?’ He said. ‘I didn’t know! When you gave it to me and I read it I didn’t know.’ So I thought, let’s see how hard he fights for it. Because if you had said, ‘Yeah, well maybe not…’ then — out!  But when you argued that much for it, I knew it must be right.”

— Gene Wilder, on writing Young Frankenstein

Gene Wilder (1933 – 2016) (Writer/Actor) Young Frankenstein, The World’s Greatest Lover, Silver Streak Blazing Saddles, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

PBS Interview with Gene Wilder (5:33 Video)

Gene Wilder New York Times Obit August 29, 2016

1 year ago