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The sweet life
Neither fame nor Wonka's chocolate fortune can match the riches of rural life and practice


The movie that people weren't sure would turn out has grown into a cult classic with every bit as much entertainment power as its big-budget successor. The recent remake, "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," earned about a half-billion dollars worldwide. And although many were wowed by the special effects and computer-generated graphics that the $150-million movie had to offer, many critics didn't think it outshined the original, which was made for $2.9 million, plus wages for an entire country of Oompa Loompas (but they work pretty cheap).

"The whole Johnny Depp/Michael Jackson thing was really creepy," Ostrum says. "And despite all the special effects, the chocolate room still looked as fake as ours."

Thirty-five years after sharing the limelight with Gene Wilder and Jack Albertson, Ostrum talks about starring in the feature film with a shyness and uncertainty akin to watching a family movie with a stranger.

"I wasn't receptive to talking about it for a long time, but when I had kids, they became interested in the movie," he says. "But I still love movies, and sometimes I think: 'What if?' My life could have been very different. Luckily, I had enough other interests and irons in the fire to go other directions."

The kids in the movie got together in New York for the film's 20th anniversary party. It was the first time they had seen each other since 1971.

Julie Dawn Cole (Verucca Salt) was the only actor to make show business a career. Paris Themmen (Mike Teavee) has had a couple other Hollywood roles, but now he is a financial consultant for Smith Barney. Denise Nickerson (Violet Bouregard) dropped out of tinsel town after a stint on "Dark Shadows." Michael Bollner (Augustus Gloop), a native of Munich, used his home as his dressing room when shooting his only feature film. He is a tax accountant in Germany.

Ostrum lives in Glenfield, N.Y., with his wife and two children. He is an avid runner, finishing the 2005 New York Marathon in less than three hours. He plans to enter again this year.

"You've got to do something else: get involved with something," he says. "You can work all the time, but that gets old after a while."


Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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