Behind the Scenes Fun Facts- Matilda

Matilda is definitely one of my favorite movies. There are obviously a few spoilers in here, so if you don’t like spoilers and you haven’t seen the movie yet, WATCH THE MOVIE! Anyway, hopefully you took my advice, and watched the movie first. Regardless, I’m going to jump straight into this thing!

  1. Danny DeVito was the director of the movie and also played Mr. Wormwood, Matilda’s father. Matilda’s mom (Mrs. Wormwood) was played by Rhea Perlman. In real life, DeVito and Perlman were married.
  2. The antagonist of the movie (Trunchbull) was played by Pam Ferris. She was in charge of the school where Matilda went to school. All of the children were scared of her, and with good reason. Mrs. Trunchbull was always threating the children and yelling at them. If you were especially bad, you’d get thrown into the “Chokey”. The Chokey was a small closet, filled with nails and broken pieces of glass. According to the actors, the closet really did smell bad. Already, you can tell that she’s not the nicest character in the world, however Ferris is way nicer in real life and would never hurt a child. As Pam had a really harsh character, she tried avoiding the children actors during breaks when they weren’t filming. She did this so that when they had to film the next scene, their fear would be real. She didn’t want them to get too comfortable around her and then kind of ruin the whole vibe for the next scene.
  3. Pam Ferris also had a long transformation she had to go through to really look like her character. She had veins drawn all over her face, along with freckles, and baggy eyes. They even used mascara to give the illusion of facial hairs.
  4. Mara Wilson played Matilda and actually got to design her own doll to have in the movie with her. Danny DeVito allowed her to do this so that she would feel more connected to the doll.
  5. Another thing to know about Mara is that she was actually really shy to dance on set on camera. DeVito noted this and got the rest of the cast and staff to dance of camera with her so that she wasn’t alone.
  6. Mrs. Trunchbull throws one of Matilda’s friends, Amanda Thripp over a fence by grabbing her by her hair. Her hair was in pigtails, which was apparently against the school’s rules. When they filmed this scene, they didn’t use a stunt double. Jacqueline Steiger who played Amanda was more than willing to do it. Jacqueline was in a harness, which was attached to both the Trunchbull and a crane above. Trunchbull held on to her pigtail extensions and turned in circles. After filming this, they obviously erased both the crane and the harness.
  7. This is how they did a lot of scenes with Matilda. They would have one person holding a pole for instance with the item Matilda would be lifting up on that pole. They would follow Matilda wherever she would direct the object to go and once done filming, they would edit the person holding the item out of the film.

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