Interview with Julie Dawn Cole

Julie Dawn Cole started her career with the role of Veruca Salt in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. Her career turned towards performing on TV and theater. She is presently working on getting a degree counseling and psychotherapy and hoping for a Willy Wonka reunion in the near future. Movie Mikes has the chance to talk with Julie to ask her a few questions about “Willy Wonka” and what’s the come in the future.

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Mike Gencarelli: How do you feel that “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory has impacted your life”?
Julie Dawn Cole: A lot actually and I am currently working on my memoirs at the moment. Which hopefully will be published in four or five months. It has given me a lot of time to look back on it. Obviously at the time as a 12 year old, I had no idea the impact it was going to have and continued to have. I was just a kid having fun doing a movie of a great story. Little did I think I would be talking about it 40 years later.

Mike Gencarelli: Who was your favorite cast member during the shoot?
Julie Dawn Cole: Obviously I because very close to Denise (Nickerson) who played Violet Beauregarde. We were two girls, we were both away from home and both almost 13 years old. We became very close like sisters. However we both did have a crush on Peter Ostrum (Charlie Bucket). There definitely was a little bit of rivalry going on. The entire cast we were all very close. I do have a special place in my heart for both Denise and Peter.

Mike Gencarelli: Do you keep in touch with any of them still?
Julie Dawn Cole: Yes, I do. In fact we lost touch for a long time but thankfully there was reunion in ’97 for a convention in NJ at Chiller Theater.  That was the first time I saw Peter Ostrum and Paris Themmen since we finished shooting in 1970. So I met up with them. Since then I have met up with Denise, Diana Sowle (Mrs. Bucket), Rusty Goffe, he was an Oompa Loompa, Mel Stuart. Pretty much the rest of us has been meeting up occasionally since then.

MG: Sources say that you have two props from the movie? Can you tell us about that?
JC: Well I did have an Everlasting Gobstopper, I believe I was one of the only ones to end up with one of those. I do have a Golden Ticket. I do still have the wrapper of a Scrumdiddlyumptious bar and the Wonka Bar. A lot of the stuff we were a loud to keep at the time. Once they were used in the shooting they were redundant. At one point I had about ten Golden Tickets, but over the years I have lost track of them.

MG: What was your favorite memory from the filming of “Willy Wonka”?
JC: Lots of different memories, probably a favorite scene would just being in the chocolate room. The pure imagination set with all river and waterfall, it was just magical to experience. I suppose I found have to say that filming my song, which was largely filmed on my 13th birthday is my most memorable.

MG: Do you have a least favorite?
JC: Would have been in the pure imagination chocolate room because I had to eat all this chocolate stuff out of a styrofoam watermelon. I had to scoop all the chocolate stuff out and as a child I did not like chocolate. Which is ironic being being in the movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”. I especially didn’t like the chocolate goop that was in there it was rather disgusting, so that was probably my least favorite.

MG: Shortly after “Willy Wonka”, you only acted in two more movies? Any reason you stopped making movies?
JC: Largely in the UK, our film industry wasn’t as big as your in the US. The work that was available was in television, so that is the direction that my career took.

MG: You have been extremely active in television over the years, what has been your favorite project to work on?
JC: Wow, over the years I have several. Most recently I have done presenting (on “This Morning”, a British daytime television series), which enabled me to travel and I went to China, India, and all sort of other places. I worked on a drama for about two years about nurses, I was 17 or 18. Also lots of costume drama which I have enjoyed as well. I have been very lucky with my career.
MG: How do you feel about the remake directed by Tim Burton “Charlie and The Chocolate Factory”?
JC: I have mixed feeling about it. Obviously I am going to be loyal to my own. I enjoyed some parts of it, specifically the exterior shots of the factory. The rest of it, I do know that probably best for other people to decide. I couldn’t be objective.

MG: Tell me how you came up with “Veruca Salt’s Big South African Adventure?
JC: That came about because from an advertising campaign in the UK for Virgin Holidays. They used a singer Charlotte Church, who is well known over here and she recorded by song “I Want It Now”. The emphasis was “I Want the World, I Want the Whole World”. They thought it would be quite fun to take the real Veruca Salt to an exotic location and if it was good enough for Veruca Salt, then it would be good enough for the rest of us. I had a fantastic few days in South Africa courtesy of Virgin Holidays. I was just having fun and being a grown-up Veruca Salt. The premise was what would Veruca Salt be like if she was grown-up…probably still demanding.

MG: Would you ever be interested in a Willy Wonka cast convention reunion?
JC: Definitely, definitely. I am rather hoping that when my book comes out, me might all get to meet together again. It has been too long, it is time we do another one. It is the 40th anniversary next year so maybe its time they got us back together again. The main kind of instigator was Paris Themmen, he was quite active in getting us all together. He got involved with other things and we lost our connection. I had a fantastic number of years, we traveled New York and all over America. It would be fantastic to do more. Chiller Theater was an amazing experience. The first one was was huge back in ’97 and there were lines around the block. With my book and with the 40th anniversary maybe they will have a reason for hooking us back together again.

MG: What do you have in store for the future? Any adventures planned?
JC: It is a possibility I may be doing a show based on a show we did at Melborne Comedy Festival in 2004, I may taking that to Edinburgh for the Edinburgh festival. I have been working hard in a completely different area and I am about to qualify with a BA in counseling and psychotherapy. So my career could be doing off in a completely different direction.

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2 Replies to “Interview with Julie Dawn Cole”

  1. Is there a way to get in touch with Julie Dawn Cole. I want to ask her a question about if she has a sister and if she lived overseas. Thanks

  2. Well, Julie herself probably isn’t going to read this. My brother took me to see WW long ago – I don’t think it was his idea – my parents were going out that night, and they probably ordered him to take me. I looked at my brother’s face halfway through the movie and I could tell he was enjoying it. Mr. Wonka said he only lit the furnace to the chute every other day. Once Julie fell down, I was so worried about her for the rest of the movie and couldn’t enjoy the movie. I’m glad Julie wasn’t burned to a crisp! Anyway Julie played Veruca in the first one and a Julia played her in the second one.

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