If you’re going to remake a classic children’s film, it behooves a creative team to approach the same story from a new direction. After all, we have no need for another straight adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic Matilda, given the iconic status of the Mara Wilson-starring 1996 version that was directed by Danny DeVito. But a musical version of Matilda, adapted from the popular stage musical that first debuted to great acclaim in the U.K. in 2010? That’s just different enough to deserve its own niche.
Netflix debuted the first trailer today for this reimagining of Matilda, which you can view below. It immediately casts a spectacular shadow, with impressive looking dance choreography and visuals, and that’s before one’s jaw drops to the floor when you realize it’s the beloved Emma Thompson of all people playing the villainous Trunchbull, under a ridiculous amount of makeup and prosthetics. The kindly image of Thompson certainly is an unexpected choice for a cruel authoritarian who picks up children by their hair and launches them over the walls of Crunchem Hall, but we have no doubt the great actress will make it work.
The title role of Matilda, meanwhile, is portrayed by newcomer Alisha Weir, while the supporting cast include Lashana Lynch as Miss Honey, and Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough as Matilda’s parents the Wormwoods. The film is fittingly directed by British dramatist Matthew Warchus, who was the first director the Matilda musical when it took the stage in the U.K. All in all, it looks like there’s more than enough rationale to be cautiously optimistic about this project, even for diehard fans of the original 1996 film.
It will likely be a little while before we get our next look at Matilda, given the Dec. 2, 2022 release date. In the meantime, check out the first trailer below.