The legendary Gene Wilder hasn't acted in a film or television show for more than a decade, last appearing in a 2003 episode of the sitcom Will and Grace. Obviously the guy has committed to his retirement, but if new reports can be believed, Steven Spielberg may be trying to lure him to work on one of his upcoming projects.
This interesting rumor is being reported by Ain't It Cool, which sources anonymous insiders about this development. As of now, there is nothing official on the table, but there are apparently meetings taking place about one of the director's upcoming movies. The big question presented is which project the two sides have been talking about.
The Steven Spielberg film that sources are apparently pointing to is The BFG - which has actually already wrapped production. It's suggested that Gene Wilder could potentially lend his voice to the big fantasy movie, though it's unclear if the site is suggesting he will have a random role in the movie or if it will be his words coming out of the titular character's mouth. Given that Wilder is really best known for his performance in Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, a return to the work of Roald Dahl would also be kind of nice.
The other possibility that the source tosses out is a part in Steven Spielberg's upcoming adaptation of the Ernest Cline-authored novel Ready Player One. The project could potentially give him another chance to play a Willy Wonka-esque role, as the site tips him for inventor James Halliday, the creator of the virtual universe known as OASIS. It's not much of a part, as Halliday is actually dead when the story begins, but he plays a key role in the story - offering his vast fortune up to anyone who can find a special Easter Egg concealed within one of the thousands of digital worlds he created.
Gene Wilder's collaborations with the likes of Mel Brooks, Woody Allen, and Richard Pryor helped establish him as one of the most gifted and fantastic comedic presences in film, and it would honestly be amazing to see the guy come back to show business in any capacity (doing a Steven Spielberg movie would just be an absolutely perfect bonus). It's true that this rumor may wind up being completely bogus, but it's also not hard to hope that it is actually real, and that the director will be able to talk the actor back on to the screen. Hopefully we'll hear some sort of update about the situation - one way or the other - soon.
As we learned just recently, Ready Player One will be in theaters on December 15, 2017, and The BFG will be out on July 1, 2016.
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Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.