Matilda - 5 surprising facts about the film you’ll love

A list of some of the most surprising facts about the classic Roald Dahl film Matilda

The cast of Matilda on set
(Image credit: Hulton Archive/ Getty Images)

Christmas is fast approaching and right now is the best time to settle in and watch these great festive films on Netflix

But one of the best movies that is always on our screens at Christmas and is in fact is on TV tonight is the adaptation of Roald Dahl's book Matilda, but did you know these 5 fun facts about the family film?

1. Mara Wilson was too shy to dance

 One of the most famous scenes in the film depicts young Matilda using her powers as she makes random objects fly around her living room as the song Little Bitty Pretty one by Thurston Harris plays. While filming this scene, Mara felt self conscious about dancing in front of a set full of people, so director DeVito encouraged the production crew to join in and dance while they filmed Mara - thus producing the iconic scene.

2. Mr and Mrs Wormwood were married in real life too

The actors who played Mr and Mrs Wormwood (Danny Devito and Rhea Perlman) were actually married in real life. The couple, who married in 1982, played Matilda’s neglectful parents in the 1996 film. Although the couple later split in 2017, they speak fondly of one another and continue to be great friends.

Danny DeVito and ex-wife Rhea Perlman

(Image credit: Kevin Winter /Getty Images)

3. Mara and Danny Devito’s special bond

Mara Wilson was the child star of the 90s, with lead roles in films such as Mr Doubtfire and Christmas classic: Miracle on 34th Street. While playing the star role in Matilda, Mara Wilson’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and died shortly after the film wrapped. During this time, DeVito and his wife Perlman would take care of Wilson so that her mother Suzie could attend hospital appointments. According to Wilson’s memoir ‘Where am I now?’, Wilson discovered after her mother's passing, that DeVito had visited her mother and showed her a rough draft of the film just before she died. 

4. Mara Wilson's cousin is Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro


Mara Wilson, the star of Matilda also has some famous relatives. One of her cousins is conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro. Shapiro and Wilson have a famously frosty relationship due to their opposing political opinions. Wilson even made a thinly veiled dig at Shapiro on Twitter just last year.

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5. Bruce Bogtrotter hated chocolate cake

Another famous scene from the film depicts an unusual punishment from Miss Trunchbull as she forces a young boy to devour an enormous cake as a punishment for stealing a slice. Unfortunately for Jimmy Karz, the Bruce Bogtrotter actor, he had a particular aversion to chocolate cake. A spit bucket was provided on set so that he didn’t have to swallow the cake.