Ralph Fiennes isn’t the first name you’d think of to play Miss Trunchbull, the intimidating and monstrous villain of Roald Dahl’s Matilda. But you should start imagining him in a dress, because he’s set to play the antagonist of Netflix’s feature film adaptation of the Matilda The Musical.
Deadline reports that Ralph Fiennes is attached to star as Miss Trunchbull in Netflix and Working Title’s Matilda. Netflix’s feature film adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic will be based on the popular stage musical, which often casts a man to play Trunchbull — in similar fashion to the mother in Hairspray.
Fiennes is an old hand at performing on the stage and in musicals (he sang in Prince of Egypt) but this will be the English actor’s first time in drag in a major feature film. Casting the usually serious actor in such an outlandish role is a bit of a left-field choice, but Fiennes will definitely be able to bring the appropriate amount of menace to the headmistress who terrorizes the magically-gifted bookworm at the center of Matilda.
Matilda follows a gifted young girl whose struggles with neglectful parents and a bullying headmistress are alleviated when she discovers that she has magical powers. The Roald Dahl story was adapted into a beloved 1996 film starring Mara Wilson and Danny DeVito, and turned into a musical that launched in London in 2011 and made a successful leap to Broadway, running from 2013 to 2017 and winning a Tony. The original director of the stage musical is set to direct Netflix’s feature film adaptation, while Tony Award winner Denis Kelly is penning the screenplay.
Killing Eve‘s Jodie Comer is also reportedly in talks to play Miss Honey, the kind-hearted teacher of Matilda, but no deal has been confirmed yet. No news yet on who will play the title role of Matilda.
Netflix, which is planning to adapt a slate of Dahl’s children stories with animated projects, will debut the film internationally while Sony will release it theatrically in the U.K. No production start date has yet been set.
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