Australian comedian and composer Tim Minchin said it was surreal to hear his music on the soundtrack to the Hollywood blockbuster Matilda the Musical.
The film, based on Roald Dahl’s beloved book, opened at the 66th London Film Festival on Wednesday, two months before its release.
Directed by Tony winner Matthew Walkus, it stars Emma Thompson as sassy principal Miss Trunchbull and Bafta rising star Lashana Lynch as Miss Honey, Matilda’s kind teacher.
Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough play the trashy, TV-watching, money-obsessed Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood.
Minchin, the composer and lyricist for the Olivier and Tony Award-winning show Matilda the Musical, told PA News Agency:
“I loved making it and thought it was good enough to go to the West End.
“But every year we see new actors bringing it to life and re-expressing it in schools, and we get letters from people about what it means to them.
“Then when you look at what Lashana, Alisha (Weir) and Matthew did with this film, it’s not easy to turn a stage musical into a feature film. I think he’s a great, great writer and creator. .
“I’m so happy to write a new song and can’t wait to see it on the big screen.”
Newcomer Alisha Weir, who arrived at the film’s premiere at the BFI London Film Festival, has a lead role as Matilda and said the high-profile cast are all her heroes.
video of the day
She told PA:
“I watched everything they did so that I could be like them.”
Speaking of her reaction to the role, she said:
“I’ve loved Matilda all my life, and it’s been one of my favorites ever. I can’t believe it, you never know when it’s going to sink, but it’s crazy to think I’m Matilda.”
Matilda’s original 1996 film, based on Dahl’s 1988 novel of the same name, starred Welsh actress Pam Ferris as the terrifying Miss Trunchbull and also starred Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, and Mara Wilson.
It was later staged by screenwriter Dennis Kelly, and was first performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon from November 2010.
It premiered on the West End a year later in 2011 and made its Broadway debut in 2013.
Speaking to PA about adapting the musical from stage to screen, Kelly said:
“I think it was more difficult to go from stage to screen than it was to go from book to stage, probably because screen as a medium is so literal. You have to think about every shot.
“But I feel like it’s worth it. If you don’t enjoy it, you should go home.
“I am always touched by the kindness and generosity… Lashana and Alisha are just wonderful together. Watching that scene at Miss Honey’s cottage is just beautiful.”
Comedian and actor Sindhu Vee, who plays the librarian Mrs. Phelps, explained her personal affection for the film.
She told PA: Read a book instead of walking around the playground and being bullied.
“I had a terrible stutter as a child and I was the only non-white child. (Matilda the Musical) speaks to me very, very closely.
She added that it was “amazing” to work with such a well-known cast.
The film will be released in UK cinemas from 25th November.