Bond and MCU star Lashana Lynch is in final talks to join Netflix’s musical adaptation of Matilda, the beloved 1988 Roald Dahl children’s story about a gifted girl who uses her wit and magical powers to triumph over the challenges of her unhappy home life. Lynch is set to play Miss Honey, the kind schoolteacher who serves as a surrogate caretaker to Matilda and who is the niece of the story’s vitriolic villain, Agatha Trunchbull. In the streamer’s take on the classic, Trunchbull will be portrayed (and genderbent) by Ralph Fiennes. Returning to direct Netflix’s film is the helmer of the stage version of Matilda the Musical, Matthew Warchus.
Lynch gained notoriety for her role in 2019’s Captain Marvel as Air Force pilot Maria Rambeau. She is also set to co-star in the upcoming No Time to Die, the severely delayed James Bond flick in which she plays Nomi, a new “00” spy. Lynch’s identity (as well as the comedic chops and sweet disposition she’ll need to bring to the role) is likely to imbue Mrs. Honey—a character who, like Mrs. Frizzle and Mr. Feeny, epitomizes nice white teacher energy—with new resonance for a younger audience.
The 1996 film adaptation of Matilda, directed by and starring Danny DeVito, is perhaps the best-known version of the story. Now, this new take on the Dahl tale beckons nostalgic cinematic memories for oodles of ‘90’s kids: There is the classic moment when telekinetic Matilda (Mara Wilson) pours Cheerios with her mind, glues her father’s hat to his head in a sequence that yelps hijinks and ultimately rides off into the proverbial sunset with a montage that I still think of every time I hear Rusted Root’s “Send Me on My Way.” While DeVito’s film oozes childhood bliss, moral musings and well-choreographed moments of fright (remember The Chokey?), Lynch’s casting, original playwright Dennis Kelly’s script and Tim Minchin’s Tony-winning original music and lyrics will surely make this rendering of Matilda sing anew.