LOS ANGELES – The carpet was, of course, chocolate brown, as cast and crew of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (search)" made their way into Grauman's Chinese Theater for the film's Hollywood premiere.
Headliner Johnny Depp (search) was greeted with screams from the hundreds of stargazers lined up across Hollywood Boulevard for the Sunday afternoon event. But it was a pregnant Britney Spears (search), with husband Kevin Federline (search), who seemed to generate the most excitement.
Other celeb attendees included actors Melanie Griffith, Martin Landau, Harry Hamlin, Jane Kaczmarek and her actor-husband Bradley Whitford. Most arrived with children in tow.
From director Tim Burton (search), "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is based on the beloved Roald Dahl (search) novel about an eccentric chocolatier, Willy Wonka, who invites five young prizewinners into his factory. But for the spoiled, greedy children, the experience turns out to be more of twisted trick than a sweet treat.
The novel provided the basis for a 1971 film, the cult favorite "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." But both Burton and Depp insisted "Charlie" is not a remake. Instead, they said, this goes back to Dahl's source material to come up with an entirely new adaptation.
For example, the character of Wonka, "came from where he came from, isolated himself . . . a bit of a germophobe," Depp told Associated Press Television News. "(He) didn't want to be around people but knew he wanted to be around people at the same time. I don't know, I thought he was kind of a shy guy."
Few would arrive with that description for the loopy but lovable character that Gene Wilder delivered in 1971. Furthermore, the new "Chocolate Factory" invents a back story for Wonka that doesn't even appear in the novel.
Star Freddie Highmore ("Finding Neverland") said the most critical difference between the two films comes with his character of "Charlie," the sweetest of prizewinners.
"Charlie is kept more pure in our version," Highmore said. "He doesn't drink the bubbly solution and go flying up into the roof. So I think it's better in that way in that he doesn't do anything wrong."
The film marks yet another collaboration for Depp and director Burton, whose credits together include "Edward Scissorhands (search)," "Sleepy Hollow (search)" and "Ed Wood (search)."
"I think we formed some sort of strange religious pact," Burton joked. "No, we just . . . it's a form of blackmail we have over each other. No, I just love working with him. That's why."
"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" opens Friday.