DISGUSTED GENE WILDER IS BITTER RECLUSE
Frail funnyman GENE WILDER, 80, has shunned Hollywood, preferring to spend his final days holed up in his country mansion in Bedford, N.Y.
The 80-year-old’s wife Karen admits the “Young Frankenstein” star often doesn’t leave their home for months on end.
“I liked Los Angeles and Hollywood for a while, but after 10 years I came back here to Bedford and thought, ‘I never want to go back,’ ” Wilder reveals. “I love it here. It’s quiet and peaceful.
“I mostly spend my time writing books and playing tennis when I can, but I fell down from the stairs because of the dogs. I was putting them to bed and fell over them. I hope to be back on the court in a few days.”
The bitter actor has very little good to say about his former stomping grounds, where he very successfully collaborated with Mel Brooks in the director’s most beloved movies, “Blazing Saddles”, “Young Frankenstein” and “The Producers”.
“I don’t think there’s anything that I’ve been offered that I’d want to do,” Wilder says.
“I’m asked to do a lot, but I don’t care for any of them. My agent gets no money from me, poor guy.”
Wilder – who published an autobiography in 2005 and has been writing novels, short stories and screenplays ever since – believes the standards of movies today are “terrible.”
“I never had a budget of more than $5 million for my movies. Then it was $40 million, now it’s hundreds of millions. For what?”
AND he doesn’t have much praise for some of the current crop of leading men, either.
“I love Leonardo DiCaprio but he’s been miscast in all his films since ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape’,” he says of the “Titanic” hunk.
Wilder adds that DiCaprio’s 2001 flick, “Catch Me if You Can” was “terrible, he wasn’t any good.”
“But he brought in the money, so they kept giving him more parts. What he did was not luck with ‘Gilbert Grape’. He proved he’s a good actor.”
Wilder conceded that Brad Pitt “is a good actor, but he wouldn’t do the stuff I did, the comedies. He wouldn’t be good at it either.”
And he hated the Johnny Depp remake of his 1971 classic, “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory”, blasting, “I think it’s an insult. I don’t see the point of doing it all over again.”