Danny DeVito On Why Matilda is Such a Timeless Movie


  • Danny DeVito believes the message of strength and kindness in
    resonates with audiences, making it a timeless favorite.
  • Matilda’s
    enduring appeal lies in its universal themes of being overlooked, finding inner strength, and helping others.
  • The
    Matilda in Concert
    adaptation will feature live music by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, narrated by DeVito himself.

To celebrate the newly imagined release of Matilda in Matilda in Concert, which will be performed by the New Jersey State Symphony Orchestra at State Theater in New Jersey today, beloved actor and director Danny DeVito has discussed why the Roald Dahl story, and his own adaptation, is so timeless. Speaking with Screen Rant, DeVito, who helmed the movie and starred as Harry Wormwood in the 1996 adaptation, said that he feels Matilda is so enduring thanks to its universal themes and its message about being “overlooked.” No matter your age.

“I think that overall, Roahl Dahl wrote a story that the reason everyone, and I did, my kids did, related to it so big, everybody feels at some point in their life that they’re overlooked. Whatever you’re into, kids going to school, kids going to college, it doesn’t matter, being an adult, being out on the road, an actor, whatever you’re into. And Matilda is overlooked by the most important couple people in your life and that’s your mom and dad, and she is overlooked.”

For DeVito, Matilda’s wholesome message of helping others and finding inner strength is what has kept the story and his movie so relevant after all these years.

“Sometimes you have to look inside for that strength that you have that helps you get by that. It saddens you, of course. But you have to know that it’s saying that you have the strength. And it’s always good to have a helper, somebody, a good person like Miss Honey. There are people out there who will give you a hand, help you out, talk to them, if you can’t talk to the people that are as close to you as you should be able to talk to.

If we all help each other in that way, I think that’s the message of the movie. I think that’s why it resonates, kids show it to their cousins and show their little sisters and their brothers and whatever. And then we all grow up.”


Best Roald Dahl Movie Adaptations, Ranked

Following the announcment that Netflix has aquired the rights to the iconic author’s works, let’s revisit the best Roald Dahl movie adaptations

Matilda Is Still One of Danny Devito’s Favorites

Directed by Danny DeVito from a screenplay by Nicholas Kazan and Robin Swicord and based on the 1988 novel of the same name by Roald Dahl, Matilda stars Mara Wilson as the title character alongside Rhea Perlman, Embeth Davidtz, Pam Ferris, and DeVito himself.

The story centers on Matila, a child prodigy with psychokinetic abilities, as she attempts to survive and thrive despite her horrible family and the tyrannical Miss Trunchbull, the principal of her new school. DeVito continued, saying that Matilda remains one of his favorites, and teases what audiences can expect from Matilda in Concert.

“Well, this is one of my favorites, Matilda, it’s always been. My kids, their friends, people grow up, their kids, they have kids, they watch it. It’s like one of those things that… And I had a ball making it too. And so, a few years ago, David and I decided, we talked to Sony, we said we’d like to take the movie, and I went in, and we stripped out the sound, all the music, and my narration.

I’m in the movie, everybody else’s dialogue and sound effects are all in the movie, but the music is going to be played by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. I can’t wait. And I’m going to narrate my part from the stage.”



Release Date
August 2, 1996


Roald Dahl , Nicholas Kazan , Robin Swicord

Somewhere inside all of us is the power to change the world.


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