Veruca Salt actress admits she channeled her ‘dark side’ for her iconic role


Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory is one of the most beloved and enduring films of all time. Based on the children’s fantasy novel by Roald Dahl, the film was released in 1971 but remains as popular as the day it was first released.

The film featured a star-studded cast, including Gene Wilder in the title role of Willy Wonka. For the actors who played the kids visiting Willy Wonka’s mysterious factory, the shoot was a life-changing event. And in a June 2021 NPR report, the actor who portrayed spoiled Veruca Salt opened up about how she was able to bring such a despicable character to life.

What did Julie Dawn Cole say about playing Veruca Salt?

Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory featured a large cast of young actors, including Julie Dawn Cole as Veruca Salt. Veruca’s character is an intensely spoiled rich girl used to getting whatever she wants – a quality that ultimately proves to be her undoing.

In June 2021 NPR feature film, Cole opened up about his role as Veruca. As for how she was able to accurately portray such a spoiled brat, Cole said, “Well, I think we all have inner demons, don’t we? So yeah, I was channeling my darker side which isn’t allowed out very often.

Cole also spoke about the wonderful experience of filming Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory, admitting, “The sets were so wonderful and it wasn’t computer-generated like it would be now. No CGI. And, you know, the chocolate room and the river and the invention room – I really liked the invention room. There was so much going on there. It was so much fun – the goose room, you know, stuff everywhere.

Does Julie Dawn Cole still play today?

Julie Dawn Cole | Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

While many child actors are groomed from birth for a career in the spotlight, Cole’s very first film role was in Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory. She was only 12 when she was cast in the film, and the character of Veruca would go on to define her acting career. In the years since his big break, Cole has starred in TV shows such as And mama makes three and Within these walls.

Throughout the ’70s and into the ’80s, Cole continued to act, lending his voice to a variety of radio shows, according to IMDb. While Cole took a step back from acting in the 2000s, she still appeared in a few projects from time to time – including, most recently, starring in the British TV drama City of Holby. In 2016, Cole published a book titled I want it now!a memoir detailing his filming memories Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory.

Julie Dawn Cole describes filming ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ as ‘magical’

Sailing in the boat are Denise Nickerson, Peter Ostrum, Julie Dawn Cole and Paris Themmen (not the boat used in the film).  They use giant lollipops as paddles.  October 8, 1970.

Sailing in the boat are Denise Nickerson, Peter Ostrum, Julie Dawn Cole and Paris Themmen (not the boat used in the film). They use giant lollipops as paddles. October 8, 1970. | Arthur Sidey/Mirrorpix/Getty Images

Cole enjoyed great success after his sudden rise to fame in 1971. However, the actor and psychotherapist fondly remembers his filming days Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory as one of the defining experiences of his life. In the NPR report, Cole noted, “It had magic. It’s hard for us to say because, you know, we grew up with it. So we don’t know the difference. But yes, it does – it’s not lost on us. And of course, we get it vicariously when we meet people.

She also praised the legendary Wilder, saying he was “charming” and incredibly patient, especially since he had a handful of rambunctious child actors who kept him busy between takes. Ultimately, Cole will always be associated with Willy Wonka and the chocolate factorya comedy classic that marked more than one childhood.

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