World premiere of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical to open London Film Festival

·3-min read

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

The upcoming film version of the hit stage show based on Dahl’s beloved book will kick off the 66th edition of the festival in London on October 5, two months before its cinematic release.

Directed by Tony winner Matthew Warchus, it will star Dame Emma Thompson as Miss Trunchbull, Bafta rising star Lashana Lynch as Miss Honey while newcomer Alisha Weir will take on the title character.

Warchus, who directed the stage show for the West End and Broadway, said: “What 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.”

Stephen Graham, Sindhu Vee and Andrea Riseborough are also among the star-studded cast.

Screenwriter Dennis Kelly has adapted the film from the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Tony and Olivier award-winning production of the popular musical.

Tim Minchin, who previously wrote songs for the musical, will create the original music and lyrics.

Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival director, said she was a “massive fan” of the original stage musical and that Warchus had adapted his own production for the screen with “absolute verve and gusto”.

Alisha Weir takes on the title character Matilda (Netflix/PA)
Alisha Weir takes on the title character Matilda (Netflix/PA)

Tuttle added: “It’s a delight to host the world premiere of this exceptional all-ages musical film in our opening night spot and take it out to audiences across the UK with Sony Pictures.

“This is a rollicking, rousing story about sticking together and fighting back against the bullies of the world, even when that seems scary. Sometimes you have to get a little bit naughty!”

The original 1996 film of Matilda, based on Dahl’s 1988 novel of the same name, starred Welsh actress Pam Ferris as the formidable Miss Trunchbull while Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman and Mara Wilson also featured.

Tim Minchin
Tim Minchin will create the original music and lyrics (Jonathan Brady/PA)

It was later adapted for the stage by Kelly with an initial run by the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford-upon-Avon starting in November 2010.

A year later in 2011, the musical had its West End premier with the Broadway debut following in 2013.

The 66th BFI London Film Festival will take place from October 5 to October 16, with the world premiere of Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical taking place on the first day.

The film is due out in cinemas in December.

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