New 'Matilda' musical movie to open London Film Festival

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Alisha Weir as Matilda Wormwood in Roald Dahl's Matilda the Musical. (Sony Pictures)
The movie will premiere at the London Film Festival. (Sony Pictures)

The world premiere of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical is to open the London Film Festival this year.

The film – which has sparked a backlash over Dame Emma Thompson wearing a fatsuit to play Miss Trunchbull – is a big screen version of the hit stage show.

It will be screened at the London event on 5 October, two months before it is released in cinemas.

Read more: Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical tells the story of an extraordinary girl

Director Matthew Warchus said it would be “a delight to be opening this tremendous film festival with singing, dancing, green hair and chocolate cake”.

“It’s a real honour to be sharing this joyful and empowering tale of a little girl’s courage and compassion at such a prestigious event,” he said.

Dame Emma Thompson plays Miss Trunchbull. (Sony Pictures)
Dame Emma Thompson plays Miss Trunchbull. (Sony Pictures)

BFI London Film Festival director Tricia Tuttle said she was a “massive fan” of the original musical and that it had been adapted for the screen with “absolute verve and gusto”.

“This is a rollicking, rousing story about sticking together and fighting back against the bullies of the world, even when that seems scary,” she said.

“Sometimes you have to get a little bit naughty!”

As well as Dame Emma, the movie adaptation of author Dahl’s tale features Bafta rising star Lashana Lynch as Miss Honey and newcomer Alisha Weir as Matilda.

There has been some controversy around Dame Emma’s role after she was seen in a fatusit in a trailer.

Lashana Lynch as Miss Honey in Roald Dah's Matilda the Musical. (Sony Pictures)
Lashana Lynch as Miss Honey. (Sony Pictures)

It started a conversation about whether the use of a suit and prosthetics was appropriate and whether it deprived a plus-sized actor of a role.

Matilda was previously turned into a film in 1996.

It starred Pam Ferris as Miss Trunchbull and Mara Wilson as the title character.

Mara Wilson and Embeth Davidtz in the 1996 version of 'Matilda'. (Credit: TriStar Pictures)
Mara Wilson was in the 1996 version of Matilda. (TriStar Pictures)

It was later adapted for the stage.

Read more: Emma Thompson will officially play Miss Trunchbull in Matilda musical movie

The 66th BFI London Film Festival will take place from 5 October to 16 October and the film is due out in cinemas in December.

Additional reporting from PA.

Watch: Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical: UK trailer

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