A new ‘Matilda’ movie? Everything to know about the Netflix project
90s kids, rejoice (or wait in anticipation to see how they ruined your childhood this time)! Matilda is getting a reboot.
The 1988 Roald Dahl classic was the last book the beloved children’s author published before he passed away. Also known for such children’s classics as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, and The Witches, Dahl’s books often featured downtrodden children, mean adults, and fairytale-like setups (we’re talking Brothers Grimm here – we’re pretty sure both Dahl & the Grimms have stories about naughty children being turned into blueberries).
Millennials may remember the 1994 Matilda movie adaptation starring Mara Wilson, written, directed, and narrated by the Trash Man himself, Danny DeVito. Now, Netflix is taking a crack at remaking this beloved children’s classic. Will they do the book justice, or will Roald Dahl roll in his grave? Let’s find out.
Matilda tells the story of a highly intelligent little girl whose parents don’t appreciate her. “Matilda was alone”, as the story says, so she teaches herself to read and begins devouring books. Since she isn’t nurtured by her neglectful parents, her massive brainpower grows like a wild weed, and she begins developing magic powers.
Said powers come in handy when Matilda is sent to the austere Cruncham Hall where sadistic Miss Trunchbull rules the halls with an iron fist. It’s up to Matilda to liberate her fellow oppressed students with wit & mind magic.
There are notable differences between the source material & the 1994 movie. A certain talking parrot & Matilda’s childhood friend were left out to books fans’ chagrin – also, the first Matilda movie was Americanized, moving it away from its original UK setting. However, both the book & the 1994 movie are remembered fondly by grown-up kids today.
Matilda goes to Broadway
However, the 90s film wasn’t the end of Matilda adaptations. In 2011, a musical version hit London’s West End, then Broadway. Although Rusted Root’s “Send Me On My Way” or “Little Bitty Pretty One” by Thurston Harris didn’t carry over from the 90s movie, the musical has an original, whimsical soundtrack and awe-inspiring theater effects like giant swings.
The Dennis Kelly musical went on to pick up an Olivier Award in 2012 and critical acclaim on Broadway.
With Netflix’s recent adaptation of the Broadway musical The Prom, it’s no surprise that they’re gobbling up other musicals to repackage into Netflix fare.
007 as Miss Honey
No Time to Die star Lashana Lynch is set to helm the new Matilda movie as Miss Honey, Matilda’s kind, reassuring teacher who harbors a dark secret about her past. Vanity Fair & The Hollywood Reporter both revealed Lynch is in talks to come aboard. As the first black woman to helm the 007 role, she revealed to Elle UK, why the roles she takes on are important to her:
“As a Black woman, a Londoner, and an immigrant, I’m never going to be comfortable choosing a role that is going to make my culture question anything. I’ve taken it on as my responsibility to ensure that my generation and those coming after me know that there was a point at which something happened for the first time.”
We’re guessing from this statement that the Matilda movie won’t be Americanized like the 90s version.
Any more word on the casting?
So far, casting hasn’t been announced for Matilda, the Wormwoods, or even Bruce Bogtrotter, the boy who has to consume an entire chocolate cake in front of the school after the tyrannical Miss Trunchbull accuses him of stealing a slice.
Speaking of Miss Trunchbull, who was portrayed wickedly by Pam Ferris in the 90s version (Aunt Marge from the Harry Potter series), might be portrayed by a man. In the musical, a male actor was often cast to play the gruesome headmistress in a similar tradition to Mrs. Turnblatt’s casting in Hairspray.
Ralph Fiennes, another face from Harry Potter, was in talks to play Miss Trunchbull in Netflix’s Matilda movie. Whether we see Lord Voldemort in drag or not is still up in the air, as the venture between Sony & Netflix is only in the early stages of production.
Whether Roald Dahl would approve of the latest Matilda movie is also grounds for speculation, as the author was often notorious for hating adaptations of his work. Either way, are you excited to see the new Matilda adaptation? Let us know in the comments!