"Citizen Cane"–Fantastic article on Johnny Depp and CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY in NEWSWEEK!

Sean Smith writes the most insightful article to date on CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY in the July 4th issue of NEWSWEEK. Called “Citizen Cane,” Smith’s story incorporates interviews with Johnny Depp, Tim Burton, Freddie Highmore, and Roald Dahl’s widow Liccy, to probe all the sticky issues surrounding the making of CATCF. Smith looks into the casting of Johnny Depp and his unique interpretation of Willy Wonka, the sometimes contentious comparisons to the Gene Wilder film, the attitude of the Dahl family toward the old and new versions of Dahl’s novel, and the abiding friendship between Johnny and director Tim Burton. “This is our fourth movie together,” Johnny told Smith. “I’m so honored that he asked me to play Wonka. I just hope I’m in the right arena here. My first concern is always, ‘[. . .] I don’t want to let Tim down.'”

Smith notes that Johnny’s Willy Wonka is “not just reclusive, but almost autistic in his inability to connect with others.” Tim Burton explains, “There are lots of people who are geniuses in one area, but have complete deficiencies in other areas of their lives.” Johnny sees Wonka as “sheltered from the outside world,” germophobic, driven by perfectionism. Does Wonka’s look, “that flawless pale skin, perfect pageboy and slightly feminine air” mean that “Depp found inspiration in Michael Jackson?” inquires Smith. “That never crossed my mind,” Johnny replies. “I never thought about it once, honestly. But it’s interesting, people’s perceptions.”

The Zone thanks Reemi for posting the Sean Smith article on the News & Views forum–you can read the entire story there, including Liccy Dahl’s comment that she doesn’t understand Johnny Depp’s sex appeal because she finds him “a little too pretty.” Mrs. Dahl’s verdict? “Terribly nice, but he’s no Robert Mitchum.” We think she overdosed on the Wonka pageboy and prescribe an immediate viewing of DONNIE BRASCO to restore the balance.

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