10 THINGS YOU NEVER KNEW ABOUT WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY
You probably know the story of Charlie's trip to to Willy Wonka's factory like the back of your hand: Golden ticket, surprising somersault, mild disasters, and one giant tantrum from the candy maker himself. But a lot went on behind the scenes of this classic film to bring the story to life that you probably don't know about. (By Lauren Smith)
- •We can thank the director's daughter for the film.Apparently, Madeline Stuart read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (a first-edition of the book is seen above) and insisted her father, Mel Stuart, turn it into a movie. She then got her 15 (or more like five) minutes of fame as one of the children in the classroom scene.
- •Quaker Oats is behind the book and movie having different names.The food company financed the movie, because they wanted to promote a new line of chocolate bars they were about to launch. So they named it the Wonka Bar and then chose to name the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory as a promotional tie-in.
- •The movie was shot in Munich, Germany in 1971.Since many of the people who were cast to play Oompa Loompas were from nearby cities, most didn't speak English. Which is why some of the characters appear to not know the words to songs during the musical numbers — they didn't!
- •Gene Wilder had one very weird condition before accepting the role of Willy Wonka.He insisted in his first scene he be allowed to limp, then suddenly somersault so that from that time on "no one will know if I'm lying or telling the truth." Otherwise he would pass on the role. Clearly, we know how that turned out.
- •Some of the actors' reactions were spontaneous.Including Julie Dawn Cole's (who played Veruca Salt) reaction to the somersault and all of the kids' reactions to entering the Chocolate Room for the very first time.
- •The chocolate river was made from 150,000 gallons of water, real chocolate, and cream.How else do you think they got that rich and creamy texture? But since it was made from real food, it began to spoil over time and smelled terrible by the time the movie wrapped. If you want to experience the closest thing to the chocolate river in real life, there's a giant chocolate fountain at a Willy Wonka-styled theme park in Beijing, China.
- •But most of the chocolate bars were made out of wood.Hey, that's one way to make sure the cast doesn't snack on the props during filming.
- •The original cast has stayed in touch over the past 40 years.But it should come as no surprise that they look very different now. Peter Ostrum, who played Charlie Bucket, made no other films and went on to become a veterinarian — in fact, only Julie Dawn Cole (who played Veruca Salt) continued acting.
- •Sammy Davis Jr. wanted a role in the movie.He was interested in playing the owner of the candy store, Bill. Sadly, the filmmakers thought it would be too kitschy (they were probably right). But Davis seemingly had no hard feelings, because he played the song from the scene, The Candyman, as part of his show for years following.
- •It's being turned into a Broadway musical.It's set to open in spring 2017 and will star Jack O'Brien, who you might recognize from Hairspray or The Coast of Utopia. But this isn't the first stage adaption: A British version (seen above!) premiered at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in 2013 and will close in 2017 (interesting timing).