“She’d be giving the Kardashians a run for their money,” Julie Dawn Cole, who played Veruca Salt in the 1971 classic Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, predicted of her character.
Four of the original cast members of the original film adaptation of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory chatted with HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY about where their iconic characters would be today. The former child actors — Peter Ostrum (Charlie Bucket), Julie Dawn Cole (Veruca Salt), Paris Themmen (Mike Teevee) and Michael Bollner (Augustus Gloop)– made their predictions while celebrating the film’s 50th anniversary and the release of its 4K Ultra HD edition this week.
Paris, 58, who recently made an appearance on the March 13 episode of Jeopardy!, told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY that his television obsessed character Mike Teevee would “hopefully have gone into film production, and probably would have been basically Ted Turner. He would have run an empire of entertainment properties. Chewing a cigar and basically ruling the world from his desk.”
Peter, 63, said of Charlie, “he’s still working. Charlie is still running the factory, probably trying not to be taken over by Nestle and Toblerone, trying to keep it a family operation with the Oompa Loompas.”Julie Dawn, 63, joked that she hopes “Charlie is not overweight and diabetic.” She added with a laugh, “I don’t want that image in my head.”
And when it comes to her spoiled character Veruca Salt, the actress, who published a memoir titled I Want It Now! in 2016, made a Kardashian connection. “What would Veruca do? She never did anything herself, she got everyone to do it for her. She liked the best of everything, and she got bored very quickly. I think she would have her own YouTube channel, she’d have her own reality show and she would be giving the Kardashians a run for their money!”
Michael, 62, predicted a much more low key future for his character. “Augustus would be running a beer garden selling beer outside restaurants and enjoying the best of the Wonka chocolate and selling beer and Wonka chocolate!”
Sadly their co-stars Gene Wilder — who played reclusive candy tycoon Willy Wonka — and Denise Nickerson — who played gum-snapping Violet Beauregard — are no longer with us. Gene passed away in 2016 at the age of 83. Denise died in 2019 at the age of 62.
The beloved film was adapted from the 1962 Roald Dahl novel “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” It premiered June 30, 1971 and cost Paramount Pictures $3 million to make.
In 2014, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.