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Last Updated: Monday, 11 July, 2005, 07:52 GMT 08:52 UK
Depp attends Willy Wonka premiere
Johnny Depp

Hollywood star Johnny Depp has attended the Los Angeles premiere of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, in which he plays factory owner Willy Wonka.

Britney Spears, who is expecting her first child in the autumn, was also at the event at Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

Depp said his inspiration for the Wonka character was "part game show host, part children's show host... locked in a closet for about 10 or 15 years".

But he has denied rumours that he based his performance on Michael Jackson.

"It never entered my mind," he told Sydney's Herald Sun newspaper, saying the character was more similar to reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes.

Depp's partner Vanessa Paradis, actress Melanie Griffith and Malcolm In The Middle star Frankie Muniz were among the other guests.


Tim Burton's film, based on the hugely popular book by late author Roald Dahl, also stars the director's fiancée Helena Bonham Carter and Depp's Finding Neverland co-star, Freddie Highmore.

The 13-year-old British actor plays impoverished Charlie Bucket, who wins a golden ticket to visit the chocolate factory with his grandpa.

Tim Burton
Burton also directed Depp in Edward Scissorhands and Sleepy Hollow
"I think Johnny brings a great edge to Willy Wonka," he said.

"He invites kids to the factory and gives them sweets and chocolates, but on the other hand the four of them meet a sticky end."

Burton has said his is a much darker version of the story than that portrayed in the original film, which starred Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka.

However, he has also poured scorn on the mooted Jackson connection.

"I always laugh about that because to me there is like a night and day difference," he told reporters in Australia recently.

"Michael Jackson likes children and Willy Wonka can't stand children.

"To me there is absolutely no connection as far as my mind goes."

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is out in the US on Friday and the UK on 29 July.

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11 Jul 05 |  In Pictures
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