“Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” premiered 50 years ago on June 30, 1971 and has grown into cult status over the years.
The film became such a phenomenon that it was registered in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being deemed “culturally, historically or aesthetically important.”
Former child actors Peter Ostrum, Julie Dawn Cole, Michael Bollner, Paris Themmen and Denise Nickerson – who respectively played Charlie Bucket, Veruca Salt, Augustus Gloop, Mike Teavee and Violet Beauregarde – appeared for a virtual reunion for Yahoo Entertainment in l honor of the anniversary film.
The actors, who played the roles of the four lucky Golden Ticket winners who got to explore the wonderful Wonka Chocolate Factory, all have fond memories of exploring the fantasy film sets in Bavarian Germany and working with Gene Wilder. But they revealed that the legendary comedic thought was as boring as their character.
Since filming the film, Themmen has been called a “notorious troublemaker on set”, with Wilder calling him “a handful.”
“I can corroborate it,” confirmed the actor, known for playing television-obsessed rascal Mike Teavee. “I was younger than the others. I was 11, they were 13, and I was naturally a bit more spirited and rowdy.
Years after filming, the 62-year-old had a brief reunion with Wilder as he attended a fundraising screening of Wilder’s 1976 hit “Silver Streak” at the Avon Theater in Stamford, Connecticut, where the famous actor confirmed his feelings.
“I sat at the back of the room and he made his comment, then I went up to the front of the room afterwards with my poster in my hand,” Themmen said with a smile. “I said, ‘Hi, Gene, how are you? I am Paris Themmen, I was Mike Teavee in “Willy Wonka”.
“And he said, ‘Oh, you were a kid!’ And I flashed all the way back 50, or 40 back then, and I said, “Well I’m 50 and something now and maybe not as much as a kid. . ” And he signed my poster, “To my favorite kid. “
Wilder passed away in 2016 at the age of 83 after a long and successful acting career in many classic films such as “Young Frankenstein”, “The Producers” and “Blazing Saddles”.
Thinking back to their time filming with the iconic actor, Cole, who played Veruca Salt, said, “I think people kind of want us to tell you that he was like quirky Willy Wonka, but he didn’t. was not. “
“He was an adorable, kind, very modest man,” shared the actress known for playing the spoiled kid of the group.
“He was just down to earth, not pretentious, he was just a wonderful person to be and work with,” said Ostrum, who played the film’s caring hero Charlie Bucket.
The 50th anniversary of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” follows the announcement of a prequel to the famous film based on Roald Dahl’s book, starring Timothée Chalamet, with an arrival date already set for March 2023.