Surprising Facts About The ’90s Cult Classic ‘Matilda’


Remember growing up in the 1990s with all the periodic stuff that characterized the decade? One of the most well-known movies of the time and probably one of your favorites was Matilda. I bet you all wished to have magical powers just like her, and you may do to this day. The film achieved success, after banking well over $62 million at the box office, and it’s still remembered as a cult ’90s movie. For those of you who still cherish this movie, here are some facts you may not have known about it.


Source: Roger Ebert

1. Matilda’s parents

They were played by Danny DeVito and Rhea Pearlman, which is interesting because they’re actually married in real life.



2. Agatha Trunchbull

Obviously, Pam Ferris acted mean and nasty on-screen, but she was the same off camera, and the children were genuinely scared of her regardless if it was on or off-screen.


3. Auntie Marge

Pam Ferris also played Auntie Marge in the third Harry Potter movie, The Prisoner of Azkaban.



4. The family’s last name

As I’m sure you know, their last name is Wormwood, which is actually a poisonous plant that can cause convulsions and kidney failure.



5. The painting of Magnus

This painting that was set up in Trunchbull’s house is actually a portrait of Roald Dahl, the author of the original Matilda novel.



6. The original cast of Matilda

Keaton and Kylie Tyndall were originally going to star as Matilda, but they came down with a bad case of the flu and the role had to be recast last minute.



7. Mariska Hargitay as Miss Honey

The Law & Order: SVU actress was initially offered the role, but she turned it down.


Source: All Things Law and Order

8. Danny DeVito’s multiple contributions

He not only plays Mr. Wormwood, he also voices the narrator and was the director of the film.


Source: Villains Wiki

9. The ghost of Magnus scene

Back in the ’90s, CGI just wasn’t around yet, which meant that this scene was pretty tricky to film. They wrote the letters backwards on the opposite side of the chalkboard and then attached a magnet to the chalk, and then someone wrote the words backwards with a device that attracted the magnet inside the chalk.


Source:FromTheBXToTheNP’s channel

10. The Liccy doll

The doll that appears in the movie is actually named after Roald Dahl’s wife, Felicity “Liccy” d’Abreu Croslan.



11. The FBI agent

The agent is played by Paul Reubens, who is most well-known for his character Pee-wee Herman!


Source: High-Def Digest

12. Yet another nod to Mr. Dahl

This time, it’s made when Matilda tells Miss Honey how much she loves Charles Dickens, mispronouncing his name as “Dahls Dickens”.


Source: Hooked on Houses

13. Mara Wilson’s mother

She was diagnosed with breast cancer during filming, and she passed away shortly after, which ultimately led Mara to finish the film and dedicate it to her mother.


Source: Screen Used

14. Mara’s passion for acting

When her mother died, so did her passion for acting, and since Matilda, she’s only appeared in a handful of TV shows and movies.


Source: Daily Star

15. Matilda’s homemade doll that she sleeps with was actually made by Mara herself



16. Music was used from The Nightmare Before Christmas in the official trailer for the film


Source: The Daily Beast

Even I was surprised to find out some of these facts. Were you? Let us know in the comments!


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