Edit
Matilda (1996) Poster

(1996)

Trivia

Jump to: Spoilers (1)
Mara Wilson's mom Suzie Shapiro Wilson died of breast cancer while the movie was being filmed. Mara honored her mother by bravely finishing "Matilda", which was dedicated to Suzie's memory.
Pam Ferris would often stay in character when the director called cut in an attempt to scare the children on set so that their fear of Miss Trunchbull would be genuine when the camera was rolling.
The picture of Miss Honey's father, Magnus, is actually a portrait of Roald Dahl, the author of the book "Matilda," upon which the film is based.
In the making of segment on the DVD, Danny DeVito reveals that for the chalk to write by itself, they wrote the letters backwards on the opposite side of the chalkboard, then put a magnet on the chalk. They then had someone stand behind the chalkboard and write the words backwards with a device that attracted magnets.
As a child, Miss Honey had a doll named Liccy Doll. One of the producers of the film is author Roald Dahl's widow, Liccy Dahl.
Mara Wilson designed the homemade doll that Matilda has in the film. Her name is Wanda.
Matilda, when describing her love of Charles Dickens to Miss Honey, accidentally mispronounces his name as "Dahl's Chickens." This is a nod to another novel by Roald Dahl, "The BFG," in which the title character continuously mispronounces Charles Dickens' name.
Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman are married in real life.
Near the end of the film, Matilda tells Miss Honey about the speed of a mouse's beating heart. This is a subtle reference to another book by Roald Dahl, The Witches, in which the protagonist and his grandmother have the same discussion. It's also a direct quote from the original text.
The song playing in the car with the FBI agents as Matilda passes by is featured in Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985). One of the FBI agents is played by Paul Reubens who also plays Pee-wee Herman.
The credits on the DVD version list the Newt as played by Mr. Speaker, Sir Isaac, and Wayne. This is a reference to: Newt Gingrich, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives; Sir Isaac Newton, English physicist; and Wayne Newton, the singer.
The film's official trailer featured music from The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) and Harry Belafonte's "Jump in the Line" which was featured prominently in Beetlejuice (1988).
Wormwood, the family name, is a poisonous plant or "something bitter, grievous, or extremely unpleasant." Wormwood is also the name of the apprentice devil in C.S. Lewis's "The Screwtape Letters".
Feature film debut of Craig Lamar Taylor. He went on later to play Malcolm's wheel-chair bound, slow talking, best friend on the television series Malcolm in the Middle. He plays the little boy who catches the newt which falls off of the light fixture - after The Tunchbull's "dance" caused by Matilda using her powers to tip the glass from which Trunchbull drinks.
Matilda writing on a chalkboard with the power of her mind was an idea later used by Stephen King in Doctor Sleep, his book sequel to The Shining, to send someone a message.
Mariska Hargitay turned down the role of Miss Honey.
Newborn Matilda was played by two sets of twins, one set of girls, one set of boys.
Kylie Tyndall and Keaton Tyndall were originally cast as Young Matilda, but had to be replaced last minute due to high fevers and the flu.
Mara Wilson's mother died during production of the film. She had thought for years that her mother had never gotten to see the completed film. But years later, Danny DeVito revealed he had shown her a rough cut of what they had filmed shortly before she died.
Danny DeVito not only plays Mr. Wormwood but he also serves as the narrator and director.
This film features no less than three actors from the Tim Burton Batman films: Danny DeVito, who directs and co-stars, played the Penguin, also known as Oswald Cobblepot, in Batman Returns (1992). Paul Reubens, who plays one of the FBI agents hunting Harry Wormwood, also appeared in Batman Returns as the Penguin's father. Tracey Walter, who plays the other FBI agent, played Bob the Goon in the original Batman (1989).
Apart from Miss Honey, Miss Trunchbull, and Cookie (the cafeteria cook), no other teachers or staff of Crunchem Hall are ever shown.
One of the lunchboxes reads, "Greeting from Asbury Park, New Jersey", a reference to Danny DeVito's hometown. "Greetings from Asbury Park, New Jersey" is also the name of Bruce Springsteen's first album.
Bette Midler was considered for the role of Zinnia Wormwood
7 of 7 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The car Harry sells to the Trunchbull is a 1970 Buick Electra 225 sedan.
Bob Hoskins, Tim Allen, Joe Pesci, John Goodman and Robert DeNiro were considered for the role of Harry Wormwood.
9 of 10 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Richard Donner and Robert Zemeckis were considered to direct the film.
Several times in the film, the word "twit" is used by Harry Wormwood and Ms. Trunchbull. This could be a reference to a book called "The Twits" by Roald Dahl who wrote the book this movie is based upon.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
The scene where Bruce Bogtrotter is forced to eat chocolate cake took so long to film that the call sheet had an Infinity symbol written on the start and end times.
4 of 4 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
During her teenage years, Mara Wilson was diagnosed with severe OCD and anxiety. She discovered this while reading a book called Kissing Doorknobs, noting the similarities between herself and the lead character. Years later, she found out that the book was written by the mother of her co-star - Kira Spencer Hesser, who played Hortensia.
3 of 3 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Mara Wilson had been a fan of the book ever since the age of four, when she had overheard her mother reading it to other children. After the success of Miracle on 34th Street, Matilda was among many scripts she was offered. She chose it immediately.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
It's widely believed that the Trunchbull was based off the headmistress of Liccy Dahl (who served as a producer) - who reportedly got very creative with her punishments. Liccy and her friend once tried to sneak ice cream to their rooms. When they were caught,the headmistress made them wait until dawn while the ice cream melted.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Helen Hunt and Tori Amos were considered for the role of Miss Honey.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Mara Wilson was so self-conscious about dancing for the "Little Bitty Pretty One" sequence, that Danny DeVito had the entire cast and crew dance along with her on set.
2 of 2 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Mara Wilson later gave her stamp of approval to the musical adaptation.
1 of 1 found this interesting Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
Maggie Kirkpatrick was considered for Miss Trunchbull, but she wasn't authorized to work in the United States.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
For the scene where Matilda dances around the living room using her powers, the song that was played on set was Harry Belafonte's "Matilda". In the finished film, "Little Bitty Pretty One" by Thurston Harris plays over the scene instead.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink
As Matilda prepares to go for her first day of school, she wears a blue sweater. Mara Wilson however found the sweater too itchy, so when she's in the car it is folded on her lap.
Is this interesting? Interesting? | Share this
Share this: Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Permalink

Spoilers 

The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

Towards the end of the film, Matilda's parents tell her that they are moving to Guam to escape the FBI. It is actually a small island in the Pacific, but is a U.S. territory.

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

Contribute to This Page