Netflix's 'Matilda The Musical’ To Open 66th BFI London Film Festival

 Emma Thompson as Agatha Trunchbull in Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical.
Emma Thompson as Agatha Trunchbull in Roald Dahl’s 'Matilda the Musical.' (Dan Smith/Netflix © 2022)

Netflix already had a big-screen adaptation of Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical in the works before committing to going full-on with the Roald Dahl Universe. But the timing is such that viewers will almost certainly see the projects as part of a larger whole. With high-profile stars such as Emma Thompson (Years & Years) and Lashana Lynch (No Time To Die) as part of the project, it's a big enough deal that Netflix is hoping to turn it into more than just the latest offering in the Netflix Kids vertical. The movie will receive a big-screen debut on the film festival circuit on the opening night of the BFI's 66th Annual London Film Festival at Southbank Centre in the Royal Festival Hall.

With more than a few film critics' eyebrows going up, both due to the Netflix of it all, and the all-ages nature of the film, Tricia Tuttle, BFI London Film Festival Director, explained the decision. "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," she said. "With screenwriter Dennis Kelly, Matthew Warchus has smartly adapted his own production for the screen with absolute verve and gusto... It's a delight to host the world premiere of this exceptional all-ages musical film in our opening night spot."

Netflix released the first trailer for Matilda the Musical and the first-look photos of the adaptation of Dahl's 1988 novel on June 15. Viewers were incredibly impressed with the first look at Thompson, who plays Monstrous Miss Trunchbull, and is practically unrecognizable under massive layers of costuming, prosthetics, and probably a few touches of CGI. But then again, the trailer suggests the entire movie takes the stage show a whole step farther than live theater can go, which is quite a feat if you've seen the musical on broadway. Anyway, the results are damn near magical.

Here's the film's synopsis:

Matilda is an inspirational musical tale of an extraordinary girl who discovers her superpower and summons the remarkable courage, against all odds, to help others change their stories, whilst also taking charge of her own destiny. Standing up for what’s right, she’s met with miraculous results.

Stephen Graham as Mr. Wormwood, Andrea Riseborough as Mrs. Wormwood in Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical
Stephen Graham as Mr. Wormwood, Andrea Riseborough as Mrs. Wormwood in Roald Dahl’s 'Matilda the Musical' (Dan Smith/Netflix © 2022)

Darklands breakout star Alisha Weir joins Thompson and Lynch (who plays Miss Honey) as the titular Matilda. Stephen Graham (Time) and Andrea Riseborough (The Witness for the Prosecution) will take on Matilda's awful parents (roles made famous by Rhea Perlman and Danny DeVito), and Sindhu Vee (Starstruck) stars as the librarian, Mrs. Phelps. Newcomers Charlie Hodson-Prior, Meesha Garbett, Rei Yamauchi Fulker, Winter Jarrett Glasspool, Andrei Shen, and Ashton Robertson take on the roles of the various other children who become Matilda's friends.

Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical will have its world premiere on Oct. 5, 2022, at the Southbank Centre in the Royal Festival Hall. The film will premiere in theaters in the U.K. starting Dec. 2, 2022. No official date has been set for streaming or a U.S. theatrical run, other than Netflix referring to "a holiday-timed release."