Viral Video Shows Gene Wilder Explaining How 3D and Too Much Swearing Made Him Quit Movies
According to a mass-shared video clip, the late, great Gene Wilder became disillusioned with movie comedies the moment filmmakers replaced farting horses with four letter words.
The Blazing Saddles star was a mainstay in all of the most impactful and iconic comedies of the 1970s, an age when filmmakers had limited access to technological gimmicks and profanity in the place of wit was frowned upon, even in productions bearing an R rating. However, as the final two decades of Wilder’s filmography show, the original Willy Wonka wasn’t remotely interested in taking his talents into the 21st century as he effectively retired from the movie business following a small handful of appearances in made-for-TV films in 1999.
Yesterday afternoon, a clip from a 2013 interview with Wilder at the 92nd Street Y in New York in which Wilder discussed his disdain for modern filmmaking – specifically as it relates to comedy – went viral on Twitter (or X) as users discovered that the proliferation of 3D movies and cuss words in comedy scripts turned Wilder off of the business for good. And here I thought that Tim Burton butchering Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was the last straw.
Wilder also explained his simple philosophy towards choosing which roles to accept, saying, “If something comes along that’s really good and I would be good for it, I’d be happy to do it,” which certainly accounts for his late-career drop-off in film roles as well as his reticence about appearing in the kind of dirty, loud, 3D projects that were popular in the early 2010s.
This clip also suggests that, in Wilder's case, the reason “You could never make Blazing Saddles today” would be that he'd quit the project once Warner Bros. tried make him tell the Klan to “fuck off” in 3-D.