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Photograph: DAN SMITH/NETFLIXEmma Thompson as Agatha Trunchbull

‘Matilda the Musical’ will kick off this year’s London Film Festival

Miss Trunchbull is putting London’s moviegoers into detention

Phil de Semlyen
Written by
Phil de Semlyen

This year’s BFI London Film Festival will kick off with as close to a sure bet as you can get: ‘Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical’ – currently packing audiences as a West End musical – will pack ‘em in its new movie form at the Royal Festival Hall on October 5. It’ll be the film’s world premiere.

‘Matilda the Musical’ is the second Dahl adaptation to open the fest: Wes Anderson’s ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ was the opening gala in 2009. 

It’s directed by Matthew Warchus (‘Pride’), with Tim Minchin’s songs providing the musical elements. 

Unlike the Danny DeVito-directed and US-set 1996 version of ‘Matilda’, this version of Dahl’s tale is set on home turf at England’s Crunchem Hall. It’s at this school that super-powered bookworm Matilda (newcomer Alisha Weir) suffers under the tyrannical regime of kid-hating headteacher, Miss Trunchbull (Emma Thompson).

Photograph: DAN SMITH/NETFLIXNewcomer Alisha Weir as Matilda in ‘Matilda the Musical’

The film also stars ‘No Time to Die’s Lashana Lynch as Matilda’s kindly teacher Miss Honey, and Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough as her uncaring parents, Mr and Mrs Wormwood. ‘Sex Education’s Sindhu Vee plays story-loving librarian, Mrs Phelps.

The 66th BFI London Film Festival will boast 160 feature films, eight TV and streaming series, as well as an extensive virtual reality XR element – alongside talks, shorts and panel discussions. It runs from October 5-16. 

If you can’t wait for the autumn and the movie, you can see the RSC’s stage version of ‘Matilda the Musical’ in the West End at the Cambridge Theatre.

‘Matilda the Musical’ will be in UK and Ireland cinemas on December 2 before heading to Netflix.

Everything you need to know about ‘Matilda the Musical’.

The 50 best family films to stream on movie night.

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