Matilda: Netflix reveals first trailer and cast photos for Roald Dahl-inspired movie musical

Emma Thompson is barely recognisable as tyrannical teacher Miss Trunchbull in the trailer and first-look photos for Netflix’s movie adaptation of the award-winning West End musical.

By Rhys Lewis Updated: 17 June 2022 - 11.19am

Netflix has released a teaser trailer and first-look images for Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical, which comes to cinemas and the streaming service in December 2022.

The 71-second clip, which you can watch above, introduces us to all the main characters in the film, including headmistress Miss Trunchbull, kindly teacher Miss Honey and of course child prodigy Matilda herself along with neglectful parents Mr and Mrs Wormwood.

Matilda the Musical poster Netflix

There are also glimpses of the gluttonous Bruce Bogtrotter tucking into a giant chocolate cake, and a clip of the famous scene in which the hammer-throwing headmistress hurls young Amanda Thripp high into the air for the ‘crime’ of wearing pigtails.

We also get a whistle-stop tour around Matilda's school, Crunchem Hall and meet its pupils, who live in fear of the tyrannical Miss Trunchbull. The trailer is soundtracked by one of the musical’s best known songs, Revolting Children.

The film is an adaptation of stage show Matilda the Musical, and features music and lyrics by Tim Minchin and a screenplay by Dennis Kelly, who wrote the book for the award-winning show. Australian comedian and musician Minchin has also written several new songs for the film.

Matthew Warchus, who directed the original stage show and also 2014 comedy-drama Pride, returns to direct the screen adaptation.  Discover the plot, rumoured release date, cast and trailer for Matilda the Musical below.

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What's the plot of Matilda the Musical?

Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin Walter McBride/Corbis
Writer Dennis Kelly and composer and lyricist Tim Minchin at the opening night of Matilda on Broadway in 2013

The musical is an adaptation of Matilda, the last children’s novel written by author Roald Dahl. The book tells the story of Matilda Wormwood, a precocious young girl with a voracious appetite for reading. When are parents aren’t bullying her they are ignoring her, but her potential is spotted by teacher Miss Honey who, against the wishes of the headmistress and the Wormwoods, nurtures her talents – which are soon revealed to include the power of telekinesis.

While the basis of the 1988 novel is the same as the story of the musical, Kelly and Minchin added a subplot about an acrobat and an escapologist which highlights Matilda's peculiar abilities and acts as a back story for several major characters.

After opening in Stratford-upon-Avon in November 2010, the Royal Shakespeare Company production opened in the West End in November 2011 and has played at the Cambridge Theatre ever since, clocking up more than 3,200 performances. After the West End production won a then-record seven Olivier Awards in 2012, the show opened on Broadway in 2013 and picked up five Tony Awards.

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Who's in the cast of Matilda the Musical?

Emma Thompson plays Miss Trunchbull

Emma Thompson as Miss Trunchbull Netflix

Thompson’s casting marks a departure from the stage productions of Matilda in that the role of the dictatorial headteacher has always been played by a man – in fact, Doctor Foster star Bertie Carvel originated the role back in 2010.

That was also originally the case with this adaptation of the film, with Ralph Fiennes being cast as the hammer-throwing headmistress in May 2020. But in January 2021, the producers announced that Thompson would be taking the role instead.

The Oscar-winning Love Actually and Saving Mr Banks star is barely recognisable as the tyrannical teacher, but has got experience when it comes to playing heavily disguised characters in children’s movies, whether it’s bottle-lensed Professor Sybill Trelawney in the Harry Potter films or hideous but good-hearted childminder Nanny McPhee.

Lashana Lynch plays Miss Honey

Lashana Lynch as Miss Honey Netflix

Lashana Lynch, who plays kindly teacher Miss Honey, is best known for playing 00 agent Nomi in the most recent James Bond outing No Time to Die. She has also played Maria Rambeau, later Captain Marvel, in the films Captain Marvel, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and on television played Rosaline Capulet in Still Star-Crossed and Arjana Pike in Bullerproof.

Alisha Weir plays Matilda Wormwood

Alisha Weir as Matilda Wormwood Netflix

12-year-old Dublin actress Alisha Weir takes the title role in the movie adaptation. Weir has previously played Molly in Annie at the Dublin National Concert Hall and also appeared in the musical Once in her home city.

Stephen Graham plays Mr Wormwood

Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough Netflix

One of Britain’s most in-demand actors, Stephen Graham has been nominated for seven BAFTAs in a career that has spanned comedy, thrillers and drama like Shane Meadows’ This Is England series in which he played racist skinhead Andrew ‘Combo’ Gascoigne.

Graham has had success on both sides of the Atlantic, playing gangster Al Capone in Boardwalk Empire and real-life mob boss Anthony 'Tony Pro' Provenzano in Martin Scorcese’s movie The Irishman. Closer to home, he’s best remembered for playing John Corbett in Line of Duty, Detective Dave Kelly in ITV true-crime drama Little Boy Blue and, most recently, Haydn Stagg in the final series of Peaky Blinders. He's also had  roles in prison drama Time and Covid-19 film Help, both of which earned BAFTA nominations.

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Andrea Riseborough plays Mrs Wormwood

Newcastle-born actress Andrea Riseborough rose to prominence, and earned a BAFTA nomination, for playing the young Margaret Thatcher in BBC Four’s 2008 movie The Long Walk to Finchley. She played Dawn in Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky and also appeared in Made in Dagenham, Birdman, Battle of the Sexes and as Stalin’s daughter Svetlana in The Death of Stalin.

On television she has starred in Netflix drama Bloodline, miniseries Waco and Italian crime drama ZeroZeroZero.

Also among the cast are Sindhu Vee (Starstruck, Sex Education) as Mrs Phelps, Lauren Alexander as The Acrobat and Carl Spencer as Magnus the Escapologist, as well as a cast of around 200 children as the pupils of Crunchem Hall.

What is the release date of Matilda the Musical?

Matilda the Musical will be released in cinemas in the UK and Ireland on Friday 2 December. In the United States, Canada, and Australia, it is scheduled to be released on Netflix the same day.

A release date on Netflix UK has yet to be confirmed.

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Is there a trailer for Matilda the Musical?

Yes, you can watch the first teaser trailer for Matilda the Musical at the top of this page.

Have there been other adaptations of Matilda?

Matilda film, 1996

In 1996, Matilda was made into a movie directed by and starring Danny DeVito as Mr Wormwood, Rhea Perlman as Mrs Wormwood, Pam Ferris as Miss Trunchbull, Mara Wilson as Matilda and Embeth Davidtz as Miss Honey.

In 2014, Kate Winslet narrated an audiobook of Matilda, and in 2018 Netfix was reported to be developing an animated series based on the book, although this has yet to materialise.

A musical version, produced by the Redgrave Theatre in Farnham, had also been produced as early as 1990 and toured the UK to mixed reviews