Adapted from the Roald Dahl novel of the same name, Matilda became a cult family classic upon its release in 1996. We could all sympathize in some way with poor Matilda’s plight: the feeling of being alone, fighting with difficult parents or being tormented by a nightmare teacher. And of course it opened up a fantasy world to kids everywhere, where Matilda’s talent for telekinesis – which we all wanted to have – could stamp out evil and save the day. And let’s not forget the so-called school “punishment” scene we all dreamed of: being forced to eat an entire, enormous chocolate cake. Yes, this heart-warming tale really does leave you with a fuzzy feeling inside, and here are 20 factoids from the film that might just astound you, too.
20. Matilda’s parents are a real-life couple
As she’s a child genius, you’d think that Matilda would make anyone proud – but her vicious parents, Harry and Zinnia, are big meanies who treat her like dirt. And, rather neatly, the pair who play the evil on-screen couple are actually married in real life. To date, Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman have been together for over 45 years and married for nearly 35. Presumably they’ve been happier together than the Wormwoods, then.
19. Miss Trunchbull was mean off camera, too
In an attempt to keep the child actors legitimately fearful of her while filming, Miss Trunchbull actor Pam Ferris deliberately stayed mean and moody after the cameras had stopped rolling. Talking to the Radio Times in September 2016, Ferris explained, “We had a discussion, Danny [DeVito] and I… that I should stay aloof… and only meet them in character to try and keep that awed look in their face and the fear.” And judging by the kids’ reactions to her in the movie, it looks like her plan worked.