Casting announcement: The ‘Matilda’ musical movie found its lead
First, it was a book. Then, it was a movie. Next, it was a musical. And now, it’s going to be a musical movie. Matilda is one of those properties whose appeal transcends format barriers. Odds are you’ve experienced Roald Dahl’s story – a dark comedy about a precocious girl with superpowers – in at least one of its incarnations. Probably more than one.
The movie adaptation of the Matilda musical is a Netflix joint – yet one more step in the streaming service’s global domination plan. Matilda fans have been following the project’s development closely, and it looks like Netflix has some exciting news to share with them: the movie’s three main characters have been cast.
Whether you’ve experienced Matilda as a book, movie, or Broadway musical, the core story remains the same. Matilda is a smart young girl who has to deal with her terrible parents at home, as well as a terrifying teacher, Miss Trunchbull, at school. Thankfully, Matilda isn’t alone: she has the support of Miss Honey – the teacher we all wish we had. Things get complicated when Matilda develops telekinetic abilities.
Roald Dahl’s book was published in 1988. Danny DeVito adapted Matilda into a movie in 1996, with himself playing Matilda’s father in addition to directing the film. The 1996 Matilda movie starred Mara Wilson, who up until then was known as Robin Williams’s youngest daughter in Mrs. Doubtfire. If you’ve ever seen the poster for the 1996 Matilda, Wilson’s mischievous grin is probably branded in your brain.
The cast of the 1996 Matilda movie was rounded up with two other actresses who have become synonymous with their roles in the film. Pam Ferris terrorized children everywhere with her portrayal of Miss Trunchbull, while Embeth Davidtz soothed all our fears as the impossibly sweet Miss Honey. To say the cast of the upcoming Netflix version has big shoes to fill would be a bit of an understatement.
The Matilda stage musical was another adaptation of the book, not a direct adaptation of the 1996 movie. This Matilda was adapted by Dennis Kelly, with music & lyrics by Tim Minchin. The show was directed by Matthew Warchus – remember this name! – and had a trial run staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-upon-Avon. The trial ran from November 2010 to January 2011.
Matilda the Musical had its West End premiere on November 24th, 2011, at the Cambridge Theatre. A little over a year later, it made it to Broadway, premiering at the Shubert Theatre on April 11th, 2013. The show was a massive success, critically & financially. It racked in the awards at the Olivier Awards, including Best New Musical. We told you: everybody loves Matilda!
If you’d like to get a feel for the musical version of Matilda ahead of its Netflix adaptation, the best way to do so is to check out the Original Broadway Cast recording. The album was released in September 2013 and contains more tracks than the UK recording. Fire up your Spotify and hear what the cast of the new Matilda movie is up against!
Sing us a song
The new Matilda movie will be directed by someone extremely familiar with the property: Matthew Warchus (told you to remember that name!). Warchus has expressed his excitement at being back at work on Matilda: “I look forward to introducing this beloved and powerful story to a new generation of fans around the world.”
Regarding the cast of the new Matilda movie, Warchus had previously commented the film would feature “talented young newcomers, alongside established stars.” The director wasn’t lying. Entertainment Weekly reports newcomer Alisha Weir will be our new Matilda. No reports yet on whether anyone has approached Mara Wilson to play her mother.
There are casting news regarding Miss Trunchbull & Miss Honey, however. None other than Emma Thompson will be playing the malevolent Trunchbull. Talk about established stars, indeed. As if that wasn’t enough, Miss Honey has been reported as being played by Lashana Lynch – the scene-stealing Maria Rambeau from the recent Captain Marvel movie.
The roles of Mr. & Mrs. Wormwood (Matilda’s parents) seem to still be up for grabs. Do you have any casting suggestions? Let us know in the comments!