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Thom Yorke inspires Willy Wonka character in new musical

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Jun 22, 2013 | 9:20am EDT

Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has been unveiled as the unlikely source of inspiration for British actor Douglas Hodge's new take on Willy Wonka. Roald Dahl's classic kids' book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has been adapted for the London stage by filmmaker Sam Mendes, with Hodge playing kooky candy boss Wonka. Hodge insists his performance isn't based on actors Gene Wilder or Johnny Depp, who previously played Wonka on the big screen, but instead rocker Yorke: "It's the way he dances. He's so tiny and birdlike." The theatre star has also taken cues from rock icons Sir Mick Jagger and David Bowie, as well as the late King of Pop Michael Jackson. He adds, "Bowie has been in my mind as someone who disappeared from the public for a long time and then emerged. A strange, exotic creature, he seems to inherit a tradition of enigma and exclusiveness (like Wonka)." Mendes' musical officially opens at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in the British capital on 25 June (13).

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