Netflix is remaking Roald Dahl’s Matilda – with a musical twist

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Are you ready for a brand-new Matilda Wormwood?

In 1988, Roald Dahl gave us the brilliant little Matilda Wormwood. In 1996, Mara Wilson stepped into the shoes of literature’s bravest heroine and brought her to life in a star-studded cinematic adaptation.

And now, in 2020, it’s been revealed that Netflix is taking everyone’s favourite genius and giving her a musical movie of her very own, too. Phew!

Matilda faces up to the Trunchbull - Roald Dahl
Matilda faces up to the Trunchbull - Roald Dahl

As fans of the original book (and film) will no doubt know already, Matilda is a truly inspiring force of nature. An avid reader and mathematician, she devours every single book in her local library before she’s even old enough to set foot in a school. However, the tiny little girl’s quick wit and brilliant mind go largely unappreciated by those around her. In fact, they seem to prove a source of annoyance to many, resulting in her being bullied and berated by both her parents and the evil Miss Trunchbull.

While it would be all too easy for Matilda’s character to be shaken by these bothersome grown-ups, the books she devours night after night teach her the value of love and kindness. She champions these qualities as she cheers on Bruce Bogtrotter and rescues her fellow classmates from the Trunchbull’s over-the-top punishments. And the little girl even pushes aside her own difficulties to focus all of her attention on hatching a plan to save Miss Honey – the only supportive adult in her life – from a tyrannical and abusive aunt.

As the story progresses, though, Matilda learns that there’s a power hidden away inside of her, one which she can tap into whenever she wants to roar against the lions of injustice. And, through her own tiny acts of rebellion, she brings about the sort of positive change we truly love to see. 

With Dahl’s iconic wordplay and verse embedded throughout the book, Matilda naturally lent itself beautifully to the critically-acclaimed stage show of the same name. With lyrics and music penned by Tim Minchin, Matilda The Musical received a whopping 10 nominations at the 2012 Olivier Awards (the maximum possible!) and took home no less than seven gongs and accolades.

“Working on Matilda has been one of the greatest thrills of my life,” Minchin said of the production, which includes such belters as Revolting Children, When I Grow Up and Naughty.

Is it any wonder, then, that Sony Pictures is (as first reported by The Hollywood Reporter) adapting Minchin’s popular stage production Matilda the Musical into a new cinematic version?

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At the moment, details surrounding the release, including cast members and an air date, are not yet known. However, it’s worth noting that this isn’t the only Dahl adaptation the streaming giant has planned.

Indeed, the vice president of kids and family content at Netflix, Melissa Cobb, has confirmed that they are working closely with The Roald Dahl Story Company to bring several of the beloved author’s tomes to life – starting with The Witches (with Anne Hathaway as the Grand High Witch) later this year.

“Immersing ourselves in the extraordinary worlds of Roald Dahl stories has been an honour and a massive amount of fun, and we are grateful for the trust the Roald Dahl Story Company and the Dahl family have placed in our team to deliver more moments of shared joy to families around the world,” Cobb previously said.

“We have great creative ambition to re-imagine the journeys of so many treasured Dahl characters in fresh, contemporary ways with the highest quality animation and production values.”

We will bring you more information on Netflix’s Matilda the Musical as and when we learn them. For now, though, we fully intend to celebrate this news with a whopping slice of Bogtrotter-approved chocolate cake.

Images: The Roald Dahl Story Company/Quentin Blake/Getty images

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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