A-list actors are accustomed to spending hours getting ready for red-carpet appearances, but when it comes to transformations, make-up technicians also put in a lot of work. Emma Thompson discusses the wide appeal of Matilda and her role as the villain, Miss Trunchbull, disclosing the techniques that made her appear so menacing.
Matilda is back on the big screen, and Dame Emma Thompson has assumed the role of the spooky Miss Trunchbull this time.
As Professor Sybill Trelawney in the Harry Potter movies, teapot Mrs. Potts in the reimagined Beauty And The Beast, and of course, Nanny McPhee, Thompson is no stranger to on-screen makeovers—and under. In her most recent character, however, Thompson is completely different.
The actress admitted to Sky News that she spent up to three hours each day on set getting ready in order to achieve the terrifying Trunchbull appearance. She also shared her tips for surviving in costume without damaging her prosthetics.
There is a T-shirt with these tiny pipes in it, and you get so hot in the enormous muscle suit, she remarked. “Additionally, the pipes pump icy water around the T-shirt that is adjacent to your skin, keeping you cool. You have a small handbag with ice in it.
“Otherwise, you become so hot from the inside out that your prosthesis all falls off. Being able to develop [the character of Trunchbull] and then bring her to set three hours later and sort of embodying her in some manner makes for a really unique experience.”
Being on set for multiple days in a succession required that you “steel yourself,” she continues “because it gradually eliminates
In Roald Dahl’s timeless tale, the villain is the tyrannical Trunchbull. The role, first played by Pam Ferris in the 1996 film, was also played by Bertie Carvel in the Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly musical that ran on Broadway and the West End.
Because of Matilda’s enduring appeal as the tale of a talented little girl who has telekinetic abilities, the most recent adaptation of the book for the big screen primarily adheres to Dahl’s 1988 novel. Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood are played by Stephen Graham and Andrea Riseborough, while Miss Honey is portrayed by Bond actress Lashana Lynch, and the title character is portrayed by Alisha Weir.
Dame Emma claimed that her persona and the story itself didn’t require any modernization.
The actress explained that while Trunchbull is often relatively silent in the movie because director Matthew Warchus wanted her to appear authentically frightening, she shouts constantly in the book. “But isn’t it true that Dahl has the quality of something that is actually terrifying but in a delectable way, like Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker in James and the Giant Peach?
“Dahl was one of my favorite authors to read as a child because of the true danger it evoked. Additionally, I believed that despite plainly observing human ugliness, he was able to portray it in children’s books so that we could read them as children and recognize that darkness and cruelty toward children are real things.”
The story’s popularity is so widespread that the movie was chosen to kick off the 2018 London Film Festival. The stage show that has been entertaining families in London’s West End since 2011 is the inspiration for this iteration.
It has a life of its own, according to Minchin, who penned the music for both the television show and the next movie.
I don’t feel like I own Matilda because it has become, unexpectedly to me, so deeply ingrained in British culture, he added.
“The fact that it goes on and there are school plays and a film and then a Finnish version and a Chinese translation of it… It’s a gift that goes on giving; it’s not mine.”
The cultural legacy of Roald Dahl has not been without controversy; in 2020, the author’s family issued an apology for the late writer’s antisemitic remarks.
However, Netflix still purchased the rights to his estate, relying on the writer’s continued popularity with readers of all ages.
Dame Emma claims that she dislikes considering them to be different audiences.
Generations should be together, she asserted, and the way we’ve broken them up is neither beneficial nor healthy for people. Therefore, the works I enjoy writing are frequently, you know, suitable for audiences of all ages. In contrast, I dislike childish children’s entertainment.
The actress claims that her father, Eric Thompson, who founded the popular television program The Magic Roundabout, is responsible for this quality.
“He claimed there were no such things as children and that anyone who hasn’t lived as long as you has just isn’t a child.
“Because children adore adult things, he said, if a youngster doesn’t grasp a term or a phrase—for example, when he used the phrase “hoist with your own petard” in Magic Roundabout—the kids will just figure it out. This is why he made books that both children and adults loved.
“And that’s what motivates me — I’ve done a lot of stuff that wouldn’t be of interest to children as well, which I’ve liked,” the author continued. “I know we can’t always make things that are for everyone, but I don’t think of Matilda as a children’s film.”