Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The simple fact that there IS such a school

Showbiz Reporter

MADCAP movie-maker Tim Burton blew millions on new film Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — training squirrels to crack nuts.

The Batman director was determined to recreate the “nut room” scene in Roald Dahl’s novel for his movie starring Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. He spent six months teaching the 200 rodents to crack hazelnuts, sort them and load them on a conveyor belt. He then spent ANOTHER ten weeks filming the scene at London’s Pinewood Studios.

Burton, 46, said: “We used actual rodents. From birth, we sent them to training school for six months.”

The 1971 film version of Dahl’s bizarre book — Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory — did not have any animals in the scene.

But a source said: “Tim was determined to bring the nut room to life. Using squirrels proved too difficult in the first film, but he spent millions of pounds getting it right.”

Burton spared no expense on the movie, in which Depp plays factory boss Willy. He also created a chocolate river and an 80ft chocolate waterfall.


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