When I search up on Google I normally see both present tense and past tense being used. For example: Who plays Willy Wonka?Or Who played Willy Wonka?. What’s the difference? It confuses me to be honest. Also when the actor introduces their role do they say I play [xxx] or I played [xxx]. What I understand is that if they are no longer playing that role and the production has finished so they would use I played right? but if the production hasn’t finished, TV series that has many seasons for example, so technically they are still in their role, thus the present tense should be used. Am I correct?

P.L. Sorry for my terrible english. I have a terrible writing skill and bad grammar 🙏

  • Does your native language use grammatical tense?
    – James K
    Jul 26, 2022 at 22:49
  • No I wouldn’t say so.
    – Uni123
    Jul 26, 2022 at 23:13
  • There's a good answer on this question too
    – gotube
    Jul 27, 2022 at 0:42

1 Answer 1


Movies are weird things when it comes to verb tense because they're both finished past events in terms of their production, and experiences that you can have at any time by playing them. Willy Wonka came out in 1971, but the action is available to experience at all times.

For this reason, with media like movies, TV shows, books, comics and so on, it's correct to use either simple present or simple past when talking about the action. There's a tendency to use past tense more often the older the movie is, but there's no rule.

Gone with the Wind starred Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara.
Gone with the Wind stars Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O'Hara.

An exception is that if the movie/show/book/comic... hasn't been released yet, we use present or future tenses, not the past.

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