Into It: Gene Wilder

The actor and comedian reveals what he's reading, watching, and listening to – and why he wouldn't go see 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.'

karen wilder/ST. mARTIN'S PRESS
We asked actor Gene Wilder what he was watching, reading, and listening to.

... Reading:

Anton Chekhov, Short Stories; two volumes. He's my favorite author. He was very influential, actually, in the writing of my new book, "The Woman Who Wouldn't," because it was one of his short stories that set something stirring in me. I knew his plays, but then I was asked to do something at the Westport Country Playhouse [in Connecticut], and I said, 'I've always wanted to do a play by Chekhov, a one-act comedy called The Marriage Proposal.' I got so intrigued with Chekhov from that, it set me off on me off on wanting to read short stories. He said he felt that the short stories were better than his plays.

... Listening to:

Rachmaninoff, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Tchaikovsky.

... Watching:

I'm a member of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Sciences, so I get about 55 films – DVDs – every year. [I saw] La Vie en Rose with Marion Cotillard. I said, 'I'm going to vote for her for best actress because it's the best performance I've seen by man or woman – dramatic performance – since I've been watching movies.' Juno was a serious and funny movie. I did see [the Broadway version of Young Frankenstein] because Mel [Brooks] wanted me to see it in the first week of New York previews. It's not like the movie, but it's a good entertainment.

Gene Wilder's novella, 'The Woman Who Wouldn't,' about a violinist who falls for a mysterious woman, is in stores. Visit

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