Wonka Star Timothée Chalamet Tried & Failed to Recreate Gene Wilder’s Cane Fall Scene



  • Timothée Chalamet tried to recreate the iconic cane fall scene from the original Willy Wonka movie but sadly failed.
  • The cane in the scene stayed in place somehow, and the introduction was important to Gene Wilder, who played Willy Wonka in the 1971 adaptation.
  • Chalamet and the team behind the new Wonka movie wanted to pay tribute to the scene, but it seems only Gene Wilder could pull it off.

Wonka star Timothée Chalamet reveals that he did try to recreate one of the most beloved scenes featuring Willy Wonka ever committed to screen. Speaking with BBC Radio 1, Chalamet, who plays a younger version of the chocolatier in this month’s Wonka, tried (and sadly failed) to perform the iconic cane fall as performed by Gene Wilder in the 1971 adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book.

“Maybe I shouldn’t even say this because I don’t feel like we failed, but failure is important but we tried in the sort of opening chocolate store sequence for Slugworth, Prodnose, and Fickelgruber, introduced the evil chocolatiers, we tried a bit to get that roll in. And it required like, we put a magnet on the bottom of the cane and then a magnet on the floor because he leaves it in place and then the role itself is nearly like, impossible to accomplish but actually getting the cane to stay… so we figured in the original they must have built a tiny hole in the ground or something for Gene Wilder but I don’t know.”

The scene that Chalamet is referring to depicts the introduction of Wilder’s Willy Wonka and finds the master chocolatier limping out of his factory to meet his guests. But, before reaching them, he falls forward…before suddenly turning the fall into a somersault and leaping to his feet, much to the excitement of the crowd.

In the scene, the cane does indeed stay in place…somehow. This introduction was very important to Wilder, as the actor explained back in 2004.

“I said, ‘It’s very good but there’s something missing.’ If I play that part, I want to come out with a cane and there’s something wrong with my leg and come down the stairs slowly and then have the cane stick into one of the bricks that are down there and then get up, start to fall over, then roll around and then they all laugh and applaud.”

His reasoning for including this misdirection makes perfect sense, and demonstrates how much Wilder had thought about the character and his relationship with both the contest winners and the audience. As Wilder explained…

“I knew that from that time on no one would know if I was lying or telling the truth.”

So, it’s no wonder why Chalamet and the team behind Wonka wanted to pay tribute to this wonderful scene. Of course, it seems only the late, great Gene Wilder could pull it off.

RELATED: How to Watch Every Willy Wonka Movie in Order

Wonka Is Due to Land in Theaters on Friday


Release Date
December 15, 2023

Paul King

Based on the extraordinary character at the center of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl’s most iconic children’s book and one of the best-selling children’s books of all time, Wonka tells the wondrous story of how the world’s greatest inventor, magician and chocolate-maker became the beloved Willy Wonka we know today.

From Paul King, writer/director of the Paddington films, Timothée Chalamet stars in the title role and leads an ensemble cast that includes newcomer Calah Lane, Keegan-Michael Key, Paterson Joseph, Matt Lucas, Mathew Baynton, Sally Hawkins, Rowan Atkinson, Jim Carter, Tom Davis, Olivia Colman and Hugh Grant.

Wonka is set to be released in the United States on December 15, 2023, by Warner Bros. Pictures. Check out the trailer below:

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