Gene Wilder has been retired from filmmaking for several years now. His last appearance on a screen of any kind was his cameo on Will & Grace more than a decade back. It seems now, however, that Wilder is being recruited by none other than Steven Spielberg to return to the screen.
AICN broke the news yesterday that Spielberg had reached out and even had meetings with Gene Wilder about returning to acting, though the specific project in question has not been confirmed. As Quint said as AICN, Spielberg may want Wilder to simply do voice work for The BFG. After all, The BFG is Rold Dahl, and Gene Wilder did star in a little film called Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. However, there is a much more intriguing possibility, that the director wants the legendary star to portray James Halliday, the man behind the virtual world, the OASIS, in Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One.
Spielberg is set to begin filming Ready Player One next year, and the release date of December 2017 is set, so it would make logistic sense that he would be reaching out to Gene Wilder for the role. Beyond logistics, Wilder would be absolutely perfect for the role of Halliday, who was a reclusive gamer and computer whiz in the story, and eventually became the mythic spector of Cline’s pop-culture adventure.
It would be great to see Wilder back in front of the camera, especially in a role like this. Again, this is mere rumor at this point, and who knows if Wilder is willing to make the comeback. If anyone could convince him, though, I feel like Steven Spielberg could pull it off.