While there are many people who take issue with the constant stream of remakes, reboots, and reimagining of well-loved films, it seems that when it comes to the cast of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, they cannot wait for more interpretations of the off-the-wall Roald Dahl character. Speaking to People Magazine as part of the 50th anniversary of the movie, actors Peter Ostrum, Julie Dawn Cole, Paris Themmen and Michael Bollner, who appeared as, in order, Charlie Bucket, Veruca Salt, Mike Teevee and Augustus Gloop in the movie, shared their opinions on the Johnny Depp remake and the newly announced Wonka prequel.
While 2005’s Charlie and The Chocolate Factory received mixed reviews on its release, Ostrum, who is now 63, looks at the Johnny Depp and Tim Burton collaboration from an angle often missed by many quick to dismiss what a remake can do for an original version of a movie. “Johnny Depp’s version actually kind of helped our film. Parents saw that film with their kids and their kids had never seen the original and the parents’ reaction was, ‘This was nice, but you need to see the original.’ It introduced a whole new generation – a whole new audience to the original film.”
The general reaction of any news of a remake is “oh not again”, but when a new iteration of a much-loved movie fails to hit the mark it can quite easily cause a resurgence of interest in the original, mainly from those looking to wipe their mind of the modern abomination masquerading as a classic. While Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory was hated and disowned by author Dahl, it is much preferred by fans to the 2005 remake. With Wonka set to bring a brand new story to the world, it seems that expanding the universe is not something that the stars of the original are opposed to at all.
“As Julie likes to say, ‘There’s room for all of us. We can all play well together in the sandbox,'” Ostrum continued. “And the prequel will shed more light on early Wonka. But again, there’s been so many different versions of Willy Wonka, be it on Broadway, opera, a pinball machine … you can’t kill the Willy Wonka story. So all of it is good. It’s a great story. And people enjoy whatever different version they’re watching; it’s fun to watch. So I think we’re all looking forward to the prequel.”
It was announced back in May that Timothee Chalamet would be singing and dancing his way on to screens as the madcap confectioner, in a movie from Warner Bros. and The Roald Dahl Story Company, which would take the Dahl character and show us what adventures befell him prior to him opening the world’s most famous factory of bizarre and sometimes deadly sweets. The movie may be Wonka’s third time on the big screen, but this, being a prequel, will be the first time that he hasn’t been playing would-be mentor to Charlie Bucket. As there has never been a story told about Wonka’s history, there are many excited about the new movie and what kind of new light it can shed on one of the most eccentric literary characters ever created.