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Mailmovies : Johnny's good enough to eat; Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, released on Friday.

Byline: John Millar

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (PG

Johnny Depp didn't need to be asked twice when he was invited to star as legendary candy man Willy Wonka He was having dinner with director Tim Burton when he started discussing his plans for a new version of the 1971 movie - and Johnny didn't let him finish the sentence.

'I said, 'I'm in, no question about it.'says Johnny. 'To be chosen to play Willy Wonka is a great honour. But to be chosen by Tim Burton is triple the honour. The fact that he was involved meant I didn't need to see a script.

'If Tim wanted to shoot 18million feet of film of me staring into a light bulb and I couldn't blink for three months, I'd do it.'

The famous Roald Dahl tale centres on a competition when five golden tickets are inserted into bars of chocolate. The kids who find the tickets will get unlimited access to the mysterious sweet factory run by Willy Wonka.

Freddie Highmore, who starred with Johnny in Finding Neverland, plays Charlie Bucket, a poor boy who dreams of discovering a ticket.

And the Oompa Loompas, the bizarre characters who work in Wonka's factory, were all played by the diminutive actor Deep Roy, whose previous films include Planet Of The Apes and The Grinch.

The idea of shooting another version of the Dahl story - that was first made with Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka - has been exciting Hollywood for some time. A bunch of stars such as Steve Martin, Robin Williams, Nicolas Cage and Michael Keaton were all supposed to be in the frame. There was even a suggestion that controversial rock star Marilyn Manson was desperate to play Wonka.

But everyone who has seen the film agrees that Depp is an inspired selection.

The talented actor was so involved in the preparation that he made his mind up about all sorts of detail regarding how Wonka might look... right down to his hairstyle.

He felt the eccentric and reclusive factory owner ought to have an old-fashioned haircut.

'Wonka probably thinks it's cool because he has been locked away for such a long time and doesn't know any better,' says Johnny.

The movie is a dream come true for anyone with a sweet tooth. But while the lollipops and other candies featured in the magical world of Willy Wonka are real, the chocolate river was created thanks to big screen trickery.

More than 200,000 gallons of fake chocolate were made for the river and another 40,000 gallons for the waterfall. It truly does look good enough to eat


Depp looks set for sweet success as Willy Wonka
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 24, 2005
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