The Original Matilda Cast Then And Now

By molly atherton 7 months ago

1. Matilda - THEN

Image source: vox.comMatilda, the character whom the movie is named after is an incredibly talented five-year-old girl, she also possesses the ability to telekinetically move objects to deal with her dysfunctional family and horrible headmistress. What would you do with the same superpowers?Original content sourced from

Mara Wilson - NOW

Image source: newsweek.comNow aged 35, in 2000 Mara Wilson took a break from performing in movies for almost twelve years making a comeback in 2012. During this time she participated in a few theatre plays, and she also authored and published her own play! Mara also came out bisexual in 2017.

2. Harry Wormwood - THEN

Image Source: zimbio.comHarry Wormwood, was the father of Matilda and a used-car salesman who uses dubious tactics to get deals. Before participating in and directing "Matilda," DeVito starred in multiple films and TV shows including "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" (1975)

Danny DeVito - NOW

Image Source: insider.comNow 78 years young, following "Matilda," DeVito voiced Hercules, in the 1997 animated film from Disney. Since 2006, he has also played a prominent role in the hit comedy show "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia." Not many known this but his short stature is caused from a rare condition known as Fairbank's disease.

3. Zinnia Wormwood - THEN

Image Source: the-new-parody.fandom.comZinnia Wormwood is Matilda's mother, who is also complicate in her husbands antics and neglects to take care of Matilda. Before appearing in the movie, Perlman, who is a Polish immigrant starred alongside DeVito in "Taxi," Doesn't sound like she is in the running for the mum of the year award!

Rhea Perlman - NOW

Image Source: insider.comCurrently aged 74, Perlman went on to portray the title character on "Pearl" after filming "Matilda." Since then, she has starred in a number of made-for-TV films and shows, with a mix of guest and recurring appearances. Fun fact, she has three children with co star Danny Devito!

4. Miss Jennifer Honey - THEN

Image Source: sony.fandom.comEmbeth Davidtz played Miss Jennifer Honey, the teacher who Matilda has a close bond with. She had also played roles in several movies including "Army of Darkness" (1993), and "Schindler's List" (1994), before being cast in this 1996 hit movie.  Did you have a teacher like Miss Honey?

Embeth Davidtz - NOW

Image Source: thegossipscoop.comNow aged 57. Davidtz mainly continued acting in TV shows after "Matilda," including the well known "Mad Men" and"Ray Donovan" She also revealed that in 2013 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy. To end on a positive note she married in June 2022.

5. Miss Agatha Trunchbull - THEN

Image Source: divided-destiny.fandom.comAgatha Trunchbull, a headmistress infamous for instilling dread in her students and venting her rage on Matilda, is portrayed by Ferris. Before joining the cast of "Matilda," Ferris appeared in a number of British television shows as a guest star and had recurrent roles in "Connie" and "The Darling Buds of May".

Pam Ferris - NOW

Image Source: aged 74, Pam later made an appearance in the wildly popular "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" (2004)  Ferris also co-starred with Will Ferrell in "Holmes & Watson" (2018) She admitted in 2012 that she never had kids as was addicted to work.

6. Michael Wormwood - THEN

Image Source: insider.comMichael Wormwood, Matilda's older brother, played by Brian Levinson, doesn't seem to have any issues with his parents' unethical behaviour. Before joining the cast of "Matilda," Levinson had a role in Will Smiths "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,"

Brian Levinson - NOW

Image Source: insider.comNow aged 41, after the film, Levinson only had a small role in one episode of "Seinfeld" Even though he attended the cast's reunion dinner in 2013, Levinson has been off the grid since his acting days. So much so, there isn't many more details to share!

7.  Lavender - Then

Image Source: tmz.comLavender is a fellow classmate and friend of Matilda's, they first meet each other for the first time on the playground when they witness Miss Trunchbull making fun of other kids that are in their kindergarten class. This was Kiami Davael's first-ever movie aged ten.

Kiami Davael - NOW

Image Source: listennotes.comNow 36 yaers old. Kiami Davael made appearances on "Moesha," and "In The House," in the years following the release of Matilda. Davael then took a sabbatical from acting in 2000 so she could concentrate on independent theatre plays and other artistic endeavors. What a talented lady!

8. Bruce Bogtrotter - THEN

Image Source: her.ieJimmy Karz played cult hero Bruce Bogtrotter in Matilda, Bruce is best known for the scene where he is forced to eat a full chocolate cake by Miss Trunchbull. This was also Karz's debut movie role at the age of twelve. Does this scene make you want to grab a slice of cake?

Jimmy Karz - NOW

Image Source: insider.comNow 38, before stepping away from the silver screen, Karz made further appearances in "The Wedding Singer" (1998) and an episode of "ER." Later, he continued his studies in osteopathic medicine and is now a doctor based in Philadelphia. Do you think his patients know of his past?

9. FBI Agent Bill- THEN

Image Source: insider.comDue to Harry's underhanded actions, Reubens played one of the FBI agents investigating Matilda's parents. Before this role he had appeared in Batman Returns" (1992) and "The Nightmare Before Christmas"(1993) However he is most well know for his character Pee-wee Herman.

Paul Reubens - NOW

Image Source: nickelodeon.fandom.comNow 70, most of Reubens' career since has been spent in supporting roles on TV shows. He had a recurring part on "The Blacklist." and his most recent appearance came in 2019, when we saw him in "The Conners" He has also admitted that he is a keen collector of erotic films. Who saw that coming!

10. FBI Agent Bob- THEN

Image Source: listal.comBorn in New Jersey in 1947, Tracey Walter portrayed the other FBI agent looking into Harry Wormwood's questionable business dealings. In his previous roles which included "Silence of the Lambs," and "Batman," Walter earned a reputation for playing nasty characters.

Tracey Walter - NOW

Image Source: buzzfeed.comIt seems he was made for acting as the villain on screen. In the 2012 movie "Camp Fred," Walter portrayed an individual by the name of Scary Gary. Sounds like a guy you don't want to invite around for supper! Over his career, he appeared in over 170 films and television series!

11. Amanda Thripp - THEN

Image Source: digitalspy.comEveryone remembers the moment when Bruce Bogtrotter, eats the chocolate cake, but who can forget the scene where Miss Trunchbull decided to hammer-throw Amanda Thripp, over the school fence! This was also Jacqueline Steiger's first-ever movie role. We also think it's time to bring pigtails back into fashion!

Jacqueline Steiger - NOW

Image Source: mubi.comNow 36 years old, after completing her linguistics degree at UCLA, Steiger transitioned from the front of the camera to the back, working as a producer on a number of independent short films. She was also the production coordinator for the film "Deadpool,"

12. Hortensia - THEN 

Image Source: sony.fandom.comBefore the movie, Matilda's classmate, Hortensia, played by Kira Spencer Hesser appeared in the hilariously titled "There's No Such Thing as a Chanukah Bush, Sandy Goldstein" Her character in the movie is known for warning Matilda and Lavender about the monster that is Miss Trunchbull.

Kira Spencer Hesser - Now

Image Source: imdb.comNow 38, after this role, Kira's career has taken a different path. She is now a journalist and the host of the travel programme "Islands Without Cars with Kira Hesser," which sounds like a must watch! She also has a master's degree in contemporary literature!

13. Young Matilda - THEN

Image Source: tmz.comAt the tender age of 7, Sara played the role of young independent bookworm Matilda who at the age of 4 discovers the local library and walks there every day! It's not surprising to learn that back in 1996, this was Magdalin’s sole performing credit. What were you doing when you were 7?

Sara Magdalin - NOW

Image Source: imdb.comBorn in 1989 and now aged 33. Sara has worked as a law company administrator and a teacher in Arizona. She also has a postgraduate degree in nutrition and dietetics after studying in California. She also appeared in Afternoon Tea, a Matilda Reunion (2013).

14. Miss Phelps - THEN

Image Source: sony.fandom.comThe village's librarian in Matilda is Mrs. Phelps who admires Matilda's obvious brilliance, yet she never says anything that might make Matilda feel strange or uncomfortable. Before Matilda, Jean also appeared in Apollo 13 (1995), and Scrooged (1988).

Jean Speegle Howard - NOW

Image Source: imdb.comBorn on January 31, 1927, in Duncan, Oklahoma, USA, unfortunately, Jean Speegle Howard died in 2000 aged 72. Jean's final role was in The Hiding Place (2000) Her son Ron, who directed the 2000 movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas, dedicated the opening of the end credits to her.

Julius Rottwinkle - THEN

Image Source: sony.fandom.comWhen Hortensia tells Lavender and Matilda what happened to Julius after he was caught eating two M&Ms in class, this is the only time Julius Rottwinkle appears in the movie. If you blink you may even miss his part on screen! This was Leor's first ever appearance on set.

Leor Livneh Hackel - NOW

Image Source: myuscstory.orgAfter Leor's short cameo in Matilda, he only appeared in one more movie, The Secret Life of Girls (1999) Hackel has now returned to the classroom more than 20 years later, but in a very different capacity, as an assistant professor of psychology in California.

Cookie - THEN

Image Source: RedditWho can forget Cookie's crucial role in the Bruce Bogtrotter scene. She was the very woman who created the cake. And none of us can forget the line....''Cookie's blood, sweat, and tears went into this''.  Cookie was pretty much Trunchbull's accomplice in the movie, yet she seemed pretty happy when she was ran out of school.

Marion Dugan - NOW

Image Source: WikiMarion Dugan was an actress known for a variety of roles including Quantum Leap in the year of 1989, The Cable Guy 1996, and of course, Matilda 1996. Sadly, she passed away in 2015 at the ripe age of 97 years old, having loved a very full and successful life.

Magnus - THEN

Image Source: RedditNow Magnus never really had a real role in the movie, yet he was still an essential part as Miss Honey's beloved late father. We establish his character through her voice, and the inly time we get to see him is when we see his portrait - which Matilda moves right back in place of Trunchbull's where it belonged.

Mark Watson - NOW

Image Source: RedditMark Watson has a very well educated background. He grew up in Bristol, England with his family. He appeared in some small roles in  TV and film, but decided to follow his real passion which was stand up comedy. He has his own show and he's won multiple awards for his works.

Matilda 9 months old - THEN

Image Source: RedditMatilda at 9 months old didn't appear in the movie much. Yet she has to be one of the cutest babies seen on a move. Even at this point in Matilda, she was showing her genius by writing her name in her green baby food - something which Mrs Wormwood did not appreciate.

Kayla Fredericks - NOW

Image Source: TwitterKayla Fredericks was born in 1994 and is now 28 years old.  Since her very youthful appearance in Matilda, she has never starred in anything else and has not pursued a career in film. She lives in Orange County, California and has a huge social media following.

Now For Things You Didn't Know About The Film... Mr and Mrs Wormwood were married in real life

Image Source: blogspotWhen you watch the movies there's no denying that the Wormwoods are awful. But, there's something about them together - the chemistry is visible. And, this is because the pair were actually married at the time! Sadly the two of them split in 2017 after 46 years

The kids were terrified of Miss Trunchbull

Image Source: RedditPam Ferris, Mrs Trunchbull, according to everyone who works with her is one of the nicest, sweetest women ever. So, knowing that she couldn't meet the children and not be lovely tot hem - she stayed away to try and keep the fear inside them so that it would be easier for everyone when it came to acting.

Mara Wilson was not first choice as Matilda

Image Source: RedditWe all know that Mara Wilson was THE perfect choice for Matilda. But at the time, producers had their eyes on two identical twin girls to help production go more smoothly when one of them needed a break. However, at the time they were unavailable so the role thankfully went to Wilson.

Danny DeVito was involved with EVERYTHING

Image Source: RedditDanny DeVito is one seriously talented guy. And when it came to the movie of Matilda he was so invested, he literally took part in pretty much every possible role. He of course was acting, as well as producing, and even writing scripts. And of course he's the iconic narrator to the whole story

Jimmy Kartz (Bruce Bogtrotter) had a sick bucket next to him whilst filming

Image Source: RedditPoor Jimmy Kartz had an extreme aversion to chocolate. So, when it came to filming the scene, his repulsion that is evident is entirely true! In fact, he even had to have a bucket next to him to spit the chocolate cake into after he had taken a bite and he absolutely hated having chocolate all over his face.

The most difficult scene was the chalkboard scene

Image Source: RedditThe most difficult scene to produce in the entire movie was the chalkboard scene. This is where Matilda displays her magical powers to the class, near the end of the movie. The scene ad to be done with magnets and strings as well as double sided chalk boards. And the writing had to be done backwards.

Producers had to convince Roald Dahl's widow to agree to the movie

Image Source: RedditDahl had not liked how previous movies had represented her late husband's work, for example The Witched and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. So she had pretty much said no more adaptations. The producers were so keen however, they wrote the screenplay for free and convinced her.

Danny DeVito jokingly locked Mara Wilson into the Chokey

Image Source: wikifandomMara Wilson had to film a scene trapped inside the chokey, which she claimed was genuinely as scary as it looked, and it smelled foul. This isn't the only time she ended up there. DeVito pulled a prank and shut her in and then proceeded to pretend him and the crew were going to lunch and leaving her there.

Amanda Thripp did not want a stunt double

Image Source: RedditAmanda Thripp was excited by the chance of being spun around in the air by her pigtails and refused to let a stunt double do it instead of her. She was suspended on wires with fake pigtails and wire intertwined with her real hair so that she could be spun around and around.

Mara Wilson's mother was dying at the time

Image Source: RedditMara Wilson was having an extremely hard personal time during the filming of the movie. Her mother was in hospital dying of cancer. DeVito and his wife helped her a lot during this time, even letting her stay with them while her father slept in hospital. He also took her an unfinished copy in hospital before she passed away.

Matilda was originally set in England, Not LA

Image Source: RedditOne of the main differences from the book and the movie is the location. In the book of course, Matilda was set in Buckinghamshire in a British private school. In the movie, it is set in Los Angeles in an American public school, played by an American cast.

There's a lot of personal elements in the movie

Image Source: RedditMatilda is full of personal details which you could never realise from simply watching the movie. Matilda made her own doll for the movie so that it best represented her. And Magnus's painting is really a picture of Roald Dahl and Liccy doll is named after his wife.