[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Sunday, 17 July, 2005, 19:32 GMT 20:32 UK
Giant lollies mark Wonka premiere
By Keily Oakes
BBC News entertainment reporter

Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp signed autographs for fans
A landmark London square was transformed into a scene from Willy Wonka's chocolate factory as a host of stars descended for a movie premiere.

Thousands of screaming fans packed into London's Leicester Square to see Johnny Depp, the star of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The area was turned into a fantasy land for the event, with giant candy canes and lollipops.

The film, based on Roald Dahl's book, opens in the UK on 29 July.

Director Tim Burton was also at the premiere, along with his partner Helena Bonham Carter, who plays Mrs Bucket in the film.

'Really lucky'

Although the film will naturally be compared to the original musical film based on Roald Dahl's book, Burton was dismissive, saying he had not even seen the first one properly.

The child stars of the movie were in attendance at the premiere, including 13-year-old Freddie Highmore, who plays Charlie Bucket.

He was recommended for the role by Depp, whom he worked alongside in Finding Neverland.

"Working on the film was pretty cool. I've been really lucky," said Highmore.

Freddie Highmore
Freddie Highmore said he felt lucky to have worked on the film

"Johnny is a really nice guy. He made me laugh every day. I can't say enough good things about him."

Bonham Carter said Highmore was "amazing".

"He's so normal and delightful and he's just a brilliant actor," he said.

The other child stars of the film were also on the guest list, lapping up the attention and facing the press like seasoned professionals.

Julia Winter who plays Veruca Salt, said, "it was fun playing a brat".

"My favourite sweet in the factory was a tree of candied apples, which I later found out was made of marzipan," said Winter.

Phillip Wiegratz plays Augustus Gloop, an obese child who does not stop eating.

For the film Wiegratz had to wear a fat suit, which was "really hot and heavy".

I think Dahl would have liked this better than the first one
Producer Richard Zanuck

His character has to fall into the chocolate river, and although it was made of real chocolate Wiegratz said, "it was a little bit disgusting".

The film's producer Richard Zanuck said he was sure the film would have appealed to Roald Dahl, who famously hated the musical version.

'Gifted artist'

"I wasn't scared about redoing a movie that was so well-loved, it's actually an advantage," said Zanuck.

"I saw the film a long time ago, it was a musical and it wasn't even called its rightful name."

He added: "I think Dahl would have liked this better than the first one. Firstly we went right back to the original material. It's Tim Burton's vision of the book, and Tim and Roald Dahl's minds run parallel."

Veteran actor David Kelly was also in London to help promote the film, in which he plays Grandpa Joe, the adult that accompanies Charlie around the factory.

Speaking of working with Depp, Kelly said: "Johnny's a gifted artist. He's not just a movie star, he's a gifted actor and they don't necessarily go together."

In pictures: Charlie premiere
11 Jul 05 |  In Pictures
Willy Wonka's everlasting film plot
11 Jul 05 |  Entertainment
Johnny Depp: The acting outlaw
27 Jan 04 |  Entertainment

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific