One of the world’s best-loved children’s stories is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Penned by British author Roald Dahl in 1964, the tale of a poor boy who finds himself thrust into a world of pure imagination was first adapted for the big screen in 1971.
The story was later remade for a new generation in 2005, with the immortal Gene Wilder being replaced by Johnny Depp and Charlie Bucket being played by Freddie Highmore – who, at that point, only had feature movie to his name Finding Neverland (2004).
The baby-faced 13-year-old Freddie was thrust into the limelight, starring in what was then the eighth highest grossing movie of all time.
Following the success fo Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Freddie went on to have a very successful acting career, however, none of his subsequent projects brought him further fame until he starred as Norman Bates in the TV series Bates Motel (2013–2017).
Given that this was filmed eight years later, many people had no idea Charlie and Norman were played by the same person.
Freddie then landed the lead role in ABC drama series The Good Doctor, which saw him nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor.
His appearance on the red carpet at the 2018 awards subsequently shocked fans, who couldn’t believe how different he looked as an adult.
Now 25 years old, Freddie is pictured below at the 2018 Golden Globes.
The event was a solemn one for the Hollywood community. Many attendees wore black in solidarity with victims of sexual abuse in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Freddie’s “Time’s Up” badge is a reference to the worldwide attempt to make such scandals a thing of the past.
People could not believe how different Freddie looks as an adult and many of them took to Twitter to share their shock.
“Freddie Highmore is like two years younger than me and I still think he’s 11 years old,” wrote @tamhortons.AD_CONTENT_2
“I still remember Freddie Highmore as the kid from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Spiderwick,” wrote @nellligans, before defiantly adding, “I refuse to believe he is grown.”
“Remember when Freddie Highmore was just little Charlie Bucket at the chocolate factory?” wrote @awkwardtacoleah.
However, not everyone was shocked by Freddie’s transformation, with Golden Globes viewer remarking, “Freddie Highmore looks the same now as he did in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He just got taller.”
But some people realized that Charlie grew up to be Norman Bates long before the Golden Globes occurred!
Even though Freddie didn’t win the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor, losing to out to This Is Us star Sterling K. Brown, he was reportedly happy to have been nominated in the first place and said, “There’s always next year!”
If you thought that Freddie’s transformation was shocking, however, it’s got absolutely nothing on the transformations of the original 1971 cast. Its leading child actor, Peter Ostrum, never acted again after the movie, pursuing a career that is a world away from the big screen.
Instead of continuing to act off of the back of the movie, Peter left the world of Hollywood behind to become a veterinarian. He is pictured below.
However, the now 60-year-old has fond memories of filming the iconic movie. He was one of five cast members who met up 44 years after its release to discuss what it was really like to live out every child’s dream in Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory!