Inside the largest change Netflix made to ‘Matilda’ musical

The next comprises spoilers from the film “Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical,” now streaming on Netflix.

The ultimate 4 minutes of “Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical” are, in a manner, each a brand new ending and a brand new starting. The villainous Miss Trunchbull is now not the varsity headmistress; the dim-witted Wormwoods are now not Matilda’s mother and father.

As an alternative, Matilda (Alisha Weir) and Miss Honey (Lashana Lynch) comply with take care of one another and be a part of for a shifting mid-tempo duet, written particularly for the Netflix adaptation of the hit stage present. The track — which didn’t even exist till after filming started — and accompanying montage deliver to the display a dream the inventive workforce couldn’t understand onstage.

The stage musical closes with a broad, comedic part, and “ends with two people holding hands and then a cartwheel, which is a beautiful, simple gesture, but you don’t get to see past the moment where they come together,” stated Dennis Kelly, author of each the stage and display variations. “We did try and end the film in different ways, but what this moment needed was a song, a joyful release for this little family created by these two people.”

Titled “Still Holding My Hand,” the brand new track has Matilda and Miss Honey singing about how every thought their unlucky fates had been sealed however, as an alternative, they’re delighted to find they’ve been there for one another all alongside. “One day I opened my eyes and looked up to find that the sky had turned blindingly blue,” they sing in unison, Miss Honey with completely satisfied tears forming in her eyes. “And right by my side there was you, quietly taking a stand and you are holding my hand.”

Lashana Lynch and Alisha Weir in Netflix’s “Matilda the Musical.”


The inventive workforce opted to incorporate a brand new track whereas reducing different stage present favorites, just like the Wormwoods’ “Loud” and “Telly,” which had been shot for the film however neglected. Nonetheless, it’s deeply rooted within the musical’s DNA: It connects the themes of autonomy and self-actualization of “Naughty” with the message of the reflective ballad “Quiet,” each of that are carried out by Matilda earlier within the film, and counters the movie’s sorrowful motif of being unable to save lots of somebody by holding onto their hand.

“It’s this idea that they both want to change the endings of their stories, but couldn’t do it alone,” stated composer-lyricist Tim Minchin. “Oftentimes, you don’t need someone to fix everything for you. What you need is someone standing by your side. Just holding your hand and not letting go, no matter what — it seems like a small thing, but at the same time, it’s huge.”

A woman and girl stand outside, facing a large house.

Throughout filming, “Alisha and I were just hanging out,” Lynch says. “The camera really did catch all these honest moments because I really did feel like I was Miss Honey, spending hours getting to know a friend.”


A woman lays on the ground outside as a girl does a handstand.

Matilda (Alisha Weir) cartwheels as a nod to the stage model of “Matilda the Musical.”


“Still Holding My Hand” performs whereas the 2 method their new dwelling, the identical home Miss Trunchbull as soon as stole from Miss Honey. Although the trainer is initially hesitant to enter, Matilda bravely holds out her hand, they usually’re quickly seen adorning their shared protected house. (As a nod to the stage present, Matilda even launches into a couple of cartwheels of their yard.)

Filming these glimpses of their new regular was notably enjoyable for Lynch. “It was such a lovely day because, honestly, Alisha and I were just hanging out, painting and laughing and talking about our favorite foods,” she recalled. “The camera really did catch all these honest moments because I really did feel like I was Miss Honey, spending hours getting to know a friend.”

Viewers then see what’s develop into of Crunchem Corridor — or, because it’s renamed, the Massive Pleasant College, now run by Miss Honey and crammed with coloration, mild, bubbles and crafts. Reframing the place Trunchbull ran like a jail as a hub of creativity, the place youngsters run via the halls stuffed with surprise as an alternative of worry, has been a want of the inventive workforce since they premiered the stage present, which concisely states, “And it was often said that it was the best school in all the land.”

“That line in the show always makes me cry,” stated Matthew Warchus, director of “Matilda” onstage and onscreen. “Of course, we couldn’t show all of that onstage. I knew the film was an opportunity to replace that line with visuals, and show these kids utterly transformed. I find it very emotional when the headmistress’ door opens, and Trunchbull’s office is now an absolute world of delight and creativity.”

Children on carnival rides.

Netflix’s “Matilda the Musical” ends with a glimpse of Miss Honey’s faculty.

(Dan Smith/Netflix)

A large property with air balloons floating in the sky above.

The Massive Pleasant College in Netflix’s “Matilda the Musical” is now run by Miss Honey and crammed with coloration, mild, bubbles and crafts.


The colourful montage was initially supposed to have college students taking part in on an enormous water slide that led all the way down to an oversize swimming pool, “but that was going to need a lot of CGI,” stated Warchus. As an alternative, the film booked two touring honest corporations, which outfitted the schoolyard with classic carnival rides, oversize slides, video games and sweet stands for 2 days — each of which had been surprisingly sunny, regardless of largely grey and wet climate throughout the remainder of manufacturing.

“It was near the end of the 120-day shoot, so by then, everybody was completely exhausted, and this became a real treat for everyone,” stated Warchus. “The crew had half an hour to spare after setting up and before all the kids arrived, so we got to ride all the rides. It was like throwing a switch: Everybody turns into a child. Then the kids turned up and we worked hard to get everything we needed in-camera.”

The scene even features a giraffe, whom the scholars are feeding from an upper-level window of the varsity. “At first, it made absolutely no sense that there was a giraffe in there, so Matthew justified it by CGI-ing a tiny, tiny sign on the grass next to Trunchbull’s statue that says, ‘No giraffes,’” stated Kelly with amusing. “If you go back and check, you’ll see it’s there for the whole film. It’s so funny. I love it.”