The Heartbreaking Charlie And The Chocolate Factory Detail Tim Burton Took From Real Life
The 2005 movie “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is based on the Roald Dahl children’s novel of the same name, much like its predecessor, 1971’s “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.” While the two films tell the same story and draw from the same source material, they are different in many ways. Tim Burton’s early ’00s retelling of the fantasy tale follows young Charlie Bucket’s (Freddie Highmore) tour of a magical candy factory with four other lucky children. The director’s version is a little bit darker than the original, and Johnny Depp’s Wonka is far quirkier than Gene Wilder’s take on the magical candy creator. The music in the “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” remake is performed mainly by the Oompa-Loompas (all played by actor Deep Roy) — no “Pure Imagination” here — yet the film’s storyline was more about the Depp’s character than the kids visiting his factory.
In a 2005 interview with Blackfilm, Burton revealed that his “intent” for the remake was to be what he “felt was more true to the spirit of the book” — with the exception of “a little bit of backstory” for Willy Wonka added into the plot. But, as it turns out, part of Wonka’s backstory was inspired by a real-life event from Burton’s life that took place just a few years prior to making the film.
Tim Burton's relationship with his estranged mother is connected to this touching scene
In real life, Tim Burton didn’t get along with his parents. The future filmmaker moved in with his grandmother at age 12 and was living in an apartment by the time he was 16, according to The Guardian. True to Burton’s real life, in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” Willy Wonka’s backstory introduces his estranged father, Wilbur Wonka (Christopher Lee), a dentist who forbid Wonka from eating candy to maintain his teeth. While the fictional father and son in the 2005 film have a strained relationship, viewers see that the senior Wonka isn’t totally disappointed in his son. In the final moments, Charlie and Wonka visit the dentist dad so the father and son can make amends. As the elder Wonka inspects his son’s teeth, Charlie notices a wall of framed newspaper clippings that report on his candy maker son’s successful life.
According to a Reddit thread, the scene may quite possibly be inspired by Burton’s final visit to see his mother, Jean, before her death in 2002. The director told Blackfilm during that 2005 interview that he’s “got some problems” stemming from his unconventional childhood, and sometimes remnants of his past come out in his films. “My parents are dead, so the answers will remain unanswered,” he said. “In movies, you try to work out your issues, and then you realize, those kind[s] of traumatic issues just stay with you forever, so somehow, they kind of keep reoccurring. No matter how hard I try to get them out of my head, they sort of stay there.”