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