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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - David Kelly interview



Compiled by: Jack Foley

Q. What was it like to come in to this production and work with Tim and Johnny and Freddie?
A:
I mean it was absolute bliss being handed the part of Grandpa Joe and being trusted with it by Tim and Richard. It was a joy because I knew the book very well and the idea that I’d play Grandpa Joe at some stage was this amazing, amazing happening.
Working with Johnny and Freddie, I just can’t begin to tell you, as the song says, because Johnny is extraordinary. I’d say it even if he wasn’t here. [Laughter]
He’s obviously a marvellous international movie star but he’s a great deal more than that, he’s a very gifted artist. There are lots of good movie stars at the moment, especially leading men in the States but Johnny is miles ahead of that. He’s wonderful to watch let alone play with. It was a joy and I feel very privileged. Hand on heart.

Q. I wanted to know how comfortable was it for the four of you in the bed, was it comfortable? And do you feel these guys treated Roald Dahl fairly and nicely?
A:
We’ll start with the bed. It brought back all kinds of memories. [Laughter]. Sharing the bed for I think three weeks with two ladies and a gentleman, even by Hollywood standards was kind of bizarre, weird. It was great and very restful and working with these gentlemen, I think they were very true to Roald Dahl.
Burton: It was a constant orgy in that bed!
Kelly: It was, actually. I promised the ladies I wouldn’t discuss this but there it’s come up. I think Tim, Johnny and, indeed, Freddie were very true to the thing. Let’s face it, Roald Dahl told the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory beautifully and to try and tell it as well as Roald Dahl did I think Tim, Johnny, Richard and Freddie really succeeded and gave you little extras as well.
That’s a tricky thing to be one up on Roald Dahl and be true at the same time. Freddie was great and I have to play a compliment here, because in the story with the joy of playing Grandpa Joe bringing him as his minder to the factory, one was aware all the time that Freddie’s hand was out watching the old bugger so that he wouldn’t fall down!
And he said to me out of the hearing of the other actors “If you want to lean on me, David, do.” And do not think I did not pick him up on that. [Laughter] Thanks, Freddie.

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