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Golden Tickets

Aniston on ''Wonka,'' and more ''Friends'' news. Plus, Matthew Perry sells out

SWEET ON 'WONKA' Aniston and Pitt will help produce remake
Image credit: Jennifer Aniston: Danny Feld/NBC
SWEET ON 'WONKA' Aniston and Pitt will help produce remake

I WANT CANDYJennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt are sweet on the upcoming remake of ''Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.'' According to Variety, the production company they started recently with talent manager Brad Grey is coproducing the Warner Bros. project, which recently got the go-ahead from ''Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'' author Roald Dahl's estate, which approved the studio's choice of Tim Burton to direct.

Apparently, the Dahl family dragged its feet for three decades on the remake because it thought the 1971 musical movie with Gene Wilder was too sugary, even though Dahl himself wrote the screenplay. Burton, who produced the 1996 animated version of Dahl's ''James and the Giant Peach,'' is expected to turn in a darker, more faithful, non-musical adaptation of ''Charlie.'' Of course, Warner Bros. then hopes to turn around and transform the film into a Broadway musical, along with Burton's ''Batman'' and an Elton John-scored take on Anne Rice's ''The Vampire Chronicles.''

The Aniston/Pitt/Grey team has been developing a number of movies in recent months, but ''Charlie'' looks to be the first to make it to the starting gate, since it already has a studio behind it. At least the three producers finally came up with a name for their company: Plan B.

BING BLING Matthew Perry may be earning scathing reviews for his London stage debut in ''Sexual Perversity in Chicago,'' but he's crying all the way to the bank. According to Playbill, the production is setting box office records for advance sales. The star-studded play, whose cast also includes Minnie Driver and Hank Azaria, has scored 1.25 million pounds in advance sales, beating the 1 million-pound record for a non-musical West End play previously held by David Hare's ''The Breath of Life.'' Bet producers wish they could keep Perry around beyond the Aug. 2 closing date.

Originally posted May 28, 2003