Another Tony-winning musical is coming to the silver screen. Matilda the Musical, based on a children’s book from the 1980s, has been adapted for screens and is coming later this year. This colorful, family-friendly comedy will bring with it grander emotional character arcs, catchy tunes about how revolting children are, and an expansion of the well-loved story that we know and love. If you’re looking to learn more about the magical Matilda musical, we’ve put together this easy-to-navigate guide to help you find everything you need to know before seeing the fantastical film.
Released on June 15, 2022, the first trailer gives viewers a sneak peek at the reimagined world of Matilda, including the towering, gated school, the terrifying Headmistress Trunchbull, and a snippet of the fan-favorite song “Revolting Children”. Also, visible in the preview are the memorable scenes of Bruce Bogtrotter eating the enormous chocolate cake, and Amanda Thripp being hammer-thrown over the schoolyard fence by her pigtails. The second trailer for the movie was released on October 13, which you can check out below:
Based on the teaser, Matilda (Alisha Weir) has her work cut out for her. As she begins school at Crunchem Hall, she learns that the principal, Miss Trunchball (Emma Thompson), does not like children. If viewers were unsure of that, it was made very clear when she swings a student around by her pigtails and tosses her in the air, later asking someone to check if the student is alive. It’s likely her other violent tendencies, including the “Chokey,” will make an appearance in the film.
The musical follows Matilda’s life from birth, showing her parents and their behavior towards her and how their daughter immerses herself in books instead. As she enters school, she connects with a teacher who acknowledges her intellect and that she differs from the rest.
Other scenes that may recognize from the first film adaptation are present, from Bruce (Charlie Hodson-Prior) eating chocolate cake to Miss Honey (Lashana Lynch) and Matilda spending time together outside of school. It appears that the adaptation is keeping many elements from the musical, though it isn’t clear if Matilda’s magic will be incorporated to the same degree. The teaser does not hint at her abilities, but it is likely they will be included.
Matilda the Musical Cast
Alisha Weir is the lead character Matilda Wormwood. Viewers may recognize her from the series Darklands or 2018’s Don’t Leave Home. Miss Jennifer Honey, the teacher Matilda connects with, is played by Lashana Lynch. The actress is known for her recent roles in No Time to Die, The Woman King, and Captain Marvel, but she has also been in the shows Silent Witness and Bulletproof. Of course, it isn’t Matilda without the iconic antagonist Miss Trunchbull. That role goes to Emma Thompson, who is recognizable from her roles in Harry Potter, Nanny McPhee, and Men in Black: International.
Additional cast members include Andrea Riseborough (The Grudge, Bloodline) as Mrs. Wormwood, Stephen Graham (Venom: Let There Be Carnage) as Mr. Wormwood, Sindhu Vee (Sex Education) as Mrs. Phelps, Lauren Alexandra (Death on the Nile) as The Acrobat, Carl Spencer (Rocketman) as Magnus the Escapologist, Meesha Garbett (Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw) as Hortensia, Rei Yamauchi Fulker as Lavender, and Charlie Hodson-Prior as Bruce Bogtrotter.
Members of the child ensemble, according to IMDb, include Noah Leggott, Serrana Su-Ling Bliss, Bebe Massey, Leon Ung, Charlie Gordon, Summer Jenkins, Isla Brill, Kit Cranston, Lila McNamara, Yasmin Boys, Olivia Clark, Jack Meredith, Imogen Darwen, and Lyla Toplass.
When and Where Will Matilda the Musical Be Released?
Luckily, you won’t have to go all the way to Broadway to see Matilda the Musical this holiday season. Thanks to Netflix, you’ll be able to stream the fantasy film from home, making it perfect for families with small children who can’t sit through a theater production just yet, or adults who want to relive their childhood and eat an entire chocolate cake by themselves in the privacy of their homes. And if you are craving a theatrical experience (minus the chocolate cake), then you can check if the film is coming to your local theater during its limited release.
Get yourself a good friend like you read about in books, an entire chocolate cake, and a seat in front of your perfectly good telly or local cinema – Matilda will be released in select theaters on December 9, followed by a streaming release on December 25, 2022.
How Does Matilda the Musical Differ From the Original Story and Film?
Matilda the Musical is an adaptation of the stage musical, rather than a reboot of the 1996 film. While the film and the musical are based on the same source material, the two are very different, and the Netflix adaptation is already hinting at some differences from the musical. The original story, written by author Roald Dahl, was published in 1988 and tells the story of a five-year-old girl who is neglected by her family, finding her only solace in books, which transport her into new worlds. She travels all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village. Upon starting school at Crunchem Hall, Matilda meets her kind teacher Miss Honey, and the terrifying headmistress, Miss Trunchbull. After being bullied by the Trunch, Matilda suddenly discovers that she has the ability of telekinesis and decides to use her powers for good, getting Miss Honey her house back, and eventually convincing her neglectful parents to leave her behind with her teacher as they flee to Spain after being caught dealing stolen car parts by the police. The 1996 film made some changes to the original story, such as changing the setting from England to America, and Spain to Guam. Additionally, the appearances of the family were changed, as well as Matilda’s age, and the narrative role of Mrs. Phelps is almost entirely removed. Additionally, Matilda’s use of telekinesis is greater in the film than in any other iteration.
The musical deviates from the story in different ways. Taking place in canonical England, the story of the rebellious and bold telekinetic five-year-old focuses on Matilda’s feelings of neglect, with the child lying at school, saying that her home life is great and that her parents are proud of her when in reality they consider her a mistake who they cannot understand. The stage musical had to make changes to the locations of certain scenes due to limited space, and for that reason, the scene in which Matilda visits Miss Honey’s old home does not occur, though the storyline is still present, with the teacher belting out her feelings in the song “My House”. The new film features plot points from the musical in grander, expanded scenes, including the story of the escapologist and the acrobat taking place at a circus surrounded by colorful fireworks, and the lavish maximalist home of the Wormwoods, complete with two pink armchairs placed directly in front of their perfectly good television set. While in the musical Matilda does use her powers, the story doesn’t focus on them nearly as much, instead placing Matilda’s true power in her strength, spirit, and intelligence, as well as her drive to change her life for the better.