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Role Model: Gene Wilder (2008)

TV Movie  -   -  Documentary | Biography  -  15 April 2008 (USA)
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Alec Baldwin talks with Gene Wilder about his "wild" career...
15 April 2008 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

GENE WILDER gets to talk with ALEC BALDWIN about a lot of things, mostly to do with how he got his start in show biz, how he trained for eighteen years to become an actor, and the ups and downs of a busy career--and finally, why he's happy now in Connecticut, married and living far away from the lure of show biz (a business he doesn't like).

Interesting to note that he studied with Lee Strassberg and Elia Kazan, who was largely responsible for getting him into Actor's Studio, that YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN required four drafts before they got it right (with lots of help from Mel Brooks), that acting and directing at the same time is almost impossible, that he replaced an ailing Gig Young at the last moment for BLAZING SADDLES, and that he got along fine with Richard Pryor unless Pryor was doing his drugs.

He gives lots of praise to fellow co-stars like LEE J. COBB, MADELINE KAHN (she could do anything, comic or dramatic), and ZERO MOSTEL with whom he made one of his biggest hits, THE PRODUCERS (which was called "Springtime for Hitler" during shooting). It wasn't a big hit on first release but has since become a cult classic.

Wilder admits that like most actors, he's a bit "crazy", and he examines the shy, timid side of his personality as well as the "take over, in charge" kind of guy that emerges sometimes on screen. What I didn't realize was that he wrote several of his most popular screen hits, including SEE NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL, THE WOMAN IN RED, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN and THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES' SMARTER BROTHER.

Covering quite a bit of ground, it's a must for any fan of Gene Wilder.


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