It’s been 44 years since the cast of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory took fans to a “world of pure imagination,” but the actors who were a part of the 1971 classic will never forget it.
On Wednesday, Nov. 11, Peter Ostrum (Charlie Bucket), Julie Dawn Cole (Veruca Salt), Denise Nickerson (Violet Beauregarde), Paris Themmen (Mike Teevee), Michael Bollner (Augustus Gloop), and Rusty Goffe (head Oompa Loompa) reunited for a special Today show interview.
“The first thing people do when they find out who we are is they smile,” Nickerson said, after all six of them confirmed they’d reprise their famous roles if given the chance.
“We call it the Wonka Effect,” Cole added.
Though Goffe went on to appear in several major projects like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and the BBC series Doctor Who, the former child stars opted for life out of the limelight.
Ostrum, who played the protagonist Charlie Bucket, an impoverished boy whose life changed forever with the Golden Ticket, became a veterinarian. And the group wasn’t afraid to uncover some secrets from the set. For example: The Chocolate River.
“I’m sorry, it was water,” Bollner admitted.
“It was disgusting,” Goffe added.
And all of the actors praised star Gene Wilder, now 82, on the set of the film, an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1964 book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
“Five kids clambering all over you, wanting his attention,” Cole said. “There was never any ‘Please don’t follow Mr. Wonka,’ and we must have been pretty tiresome.”
“They were,” Goffe teased.
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