Is it harder to believe that 30 years have passed since the release of the children's classic Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, or that the five young Golden Ticket-winning stars are now adults and some have Oompa-Loompas of their own?!? The grown-up cast who recently reunited to celebrate the pic's anniversary and DVD release shared with TV Guide Online their thoughts about the film's enduring appeal, and revealed some behind-the-scenes secrets as well.
Denise Nickerson, whose role as the gum-chewing Violet turned her into a big blueberry, attributes the movie's success to one simple fact: "It can be viewed by both adults and children," she says, before cracking: "And no one has ever looked as good in blue as me!
"I have met a total of 21 people in my lifetime that have not seen the movie," the 42-year-old adds. "I always look [at them] and say, 'What? You have not seen this film?' So this will be here long after I'm gone."
Peter Ostrum, who starred as the loveable Charlie Bucket, says his fondest memories were of singing and dancing with his on-screen grandfather, portrayed by the late Jack Albertson. However, their high-flying antics (brought on by the fizzy-lifting drinks) were not as much fun as they appeared. "We were good actors," he offers, "but [the flying] was difficult."
Though the 43-year-old had no previous singing experience, director Mel Stuart chose to use his voice for all of the songs. "The only part that wasn't me was the burping," he sheepishly admits. "Those were not my burps."
Rumors of an in-the-works Wonka remake elicited some strong reactions from the gang. "If they did it now, a lot of it would be computer-enhanced or whatever," sighs Julie Dawn Cole, 43 (aka the bratty Veruca Salt). "But back then, it was real. It was magical.""The original one's going to be the one [that's remembered]," chimes in Mike TeeVee's alter ego, Paris Themmen. "I wish them luck, but it'll be a daunting task to try to top the original."