Two-time Oscar winner Emma Thompson has joined Netflix’s Matilda the Musical, with the actress set to play the tyrannical headteacher Miss Trunchbull, a role that Ralph Fiennes was previously attached to play. Newcomer Alisha Weir has also now been tapped to play the lead role of the titular talented bookworm. Thompson and Weir join No Time to Die and Captain Marvel star Lashana Lynch who has signed on to play Miss Honey, the kindly, inspirational teacher who becomes Matilda’s friend and confidante after taking the gifted youngster under her wing.
This Matilda adaptation for Netflix will be based on the musical stage play version of Roald Dahl’s classic story in which a young bookworm prodigy battles with her parents and nemesis headmistress Miss Trunchbull. Sony is all set to release the feature theatrically in the UK.
Emma Thompson is one of the most recognizable British actresses and is known for roles in the likes of Love Actually, Saving Mr. Banks, and both the Harry Potter and Nanny McPhee franchises. Thompson has been nominated for numerous Academy awards throughout her career, taking home the awards for Best Actress for her role in Howards End and Best Adapted Screenplay for her work on 1995’s adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, in which she also starred.
Agatha Trunchbull, also known as Miss Trunchbull (or sometimes even just “The Trunchbull”) is the headmistress of Crunchem Hall Primary School and the main antagonist of Matilda. A despicable tyrant of the highest order, The Trunch rules over her students with an iron fist, resorting to horrific methods in order to carry out her idea of discipline.
Played with aplomb by Pam Ferris in director Danny DeVito’s 1996 adaptation, Miss Trunchball is not the sort of role that Emma Thompson is usually associated with and should provide a refreshing take on the literary villain. As for Alisha Weir, the central role of Matilda will no doubt be a breakout role for the young up-and-comer.
The hugely popular stage musical version of Roald Dahl’s story on which the Netflix movie will be based has been running in London since 2011 and had a successful run playing on Broadway between 2013 and 2017. The show’s original director Matthew Warchus, whose previous credits include the 2014 biographical drama Pride, is on board to direct the adaptation for Netflix.
The writer behind the musical stage production of Matilda, Dennis Kelly, who won a Tony for adapting the novel, will be penning the screenplay. The musical stage play was developed by Australian comedian Tim Minchin, who composed the music and lyrics for the production, which will no doubt also make the leap from stage to screen along with everything else. During its run, the show has won several Tony awards and been met with huge critical acclaim.
Matilda is just one of many Roald Dahl adaptations to be heading to Netflix, with a previous announcement revealing plans to bring a myriad of his stories to the streaming service, including an animated Willy Wonka series as well as new takes on The BFG, The Twits, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator and more. This comes to us courtesy of Netflix Twitter.