The world premiere of “Matilda the Musical” will open the 66th BFI London Film Festival.
The Netflix adaptation stars Emma Thompson, Lashana Lynch, Stephen Graham, Andrea Riseborough and Sindhu Vee and introduces Alisha Weir as Matilda.
Screenwriter Dennis Kelly adapted the Tony and Olivier award-winning Royal Shakespeare Company theater production for the big screen, with original music and lyrics by Tim Minchin. Directed by Tony award-winning director Matthew Warchus, who also developed and directed the stage show for both London’s West End and Broadway, the film is produced by Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner for Working Title and Jon Finn and Luke Kelly of The Roald Dahl Story Company.
Matilda Wormwood (Weir) is a little girl with big curiosity whose parents (Graham and Riseborough) content themselves with trashy TV and dodgy money-making schemes. On meeting her inspirational teacher, Miss Honey (Lynch), Matilda is encouraged and begins conjuring her own fantastical tales. Excited to attend Crunchem Hall, Matilda is surprised to find the school is an ominous and oppressive place led by the villainous Miss Trunchbull (Thompson).
Warchus, said: “What a delight to be opening this tremendous film festival with singing, dancing, green hair and chocolate cake. It’s a real honor to be sharing this joyful and empowering tale of a little girl’s courage and compassion at such a prestigious event.”
Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival director, added: “Like so many people who have been lucky enough to see it, I am a massive fan of this original stage musical, with Tim Minchin’s infectiously brilliant songs bringing new depth to a classic of children’s literature. With screenwriter Dennis Kelly, Matthew Warchus has smartly adapted his own production for the screen with absolute verve and gusto. And what a cast: Alisha Weir is a revelation as Matilda; Emma Thompson is a chillingly nasty Trunchbull and Lashana Lynch’s Miss Honey will melt your heart.”
The film will be released by Sony Pictures U.K. and TriStar Pictures across the U.K. and Ireland in cinemas on Dec. 2. Netflix will release the film across the world (excluding the U.K. and Ireland) this holiday season.
The 66th BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express takes place from Oct. 5-16. The full program will be revealed Sept. 1. The festival format developed over the past two years will continue for 2022, reaching audiences across the U.K. Alongside flagship venue BFI Southbank, the festival will continue its partnership with the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall.
In-cinema physical screenings for the festival will be hosted at partner venues in London that include Curzon Soho, Curzon Mayfair, Institute of Contemporary Arts, Odeon Luxe West End, the Londoner Hotel and Prince Charles Cinema; as well as 10 cinemas around the U.K.: Broadway (Nottingham), Chapter (Cardiff), Edinburgh Filmhouse (Edinburgh), Glasgow Film Theatre (Glasgow), HOME (Manchester), MAC (Birmingham), Queens Film Theatre (Belfast), Showroom (Sheffield), Tyneside Cinema (Newcastle) and Watershed (Bristol).