‘They can be clammy vinegar-soaked sticks of atrocity or they can be brittle units of delight’. This is how Tim Minchin describes our civic delicacy: angle and chips. You ability blow at the actuality this is the man we entrusted with bringing Roald Dahl’s archetypal British children’s book ‘Matilda’ to the West End and now to the big screen, but accept me, the Aussie’s one of us.
Minchin was built-in in the UK – Northampton to be absolute – to Australian parents. His close Britishness comes to the apparent again during our babble about the new ‘Matilda’ film, whether it's discussing the 'Americanisation' of our TV or the acceleration of antic culture.
Unlike the 1996 cine starring Danny DeVito, which Minchin says he may accept watched once, this adaptation takes afflatus from the multi-Tony and Olivier award-winning musical. It’s a added aboveboard account of Dahl’s black but ultimately upbeat tale. The adventure is set in an instantly recognisable England for a start, and there’s beneath of an accent on Matilda’s bewitched powers. ‘That’s a huge botheration with the American blur – they appetite her to be a superhero,’ says Minchin. ‘But she’s not aloof a abracadabra kid. It’s not until she goes to academy and Absence Trunchbull becomes this angry woman who keeps alteration the rules that the telekinesis comes. The abracadabra happens because of Matilda’s complete acerbity and admiration to avert the bodies she loves. To short-change that is absolutely annoying.’
After 13 years of ‘promoting and loving’ the ‘Matilda’ musical, Minchin’s affection hasn’t waned a jot. It was aback in 2008 that he was aboriginal approached to address the songs for the Aristocratic Shakespeare Company’s agreeable adaptation, accepting attempted to defended the date rights himself ten years previously. Minchin’s captivation in the activity gave acceleration to some of his best accepted songs, including ‘Quiet’, which has become as abundant a springboard for neurodiversity acquaintance as a addictive agreeable anthem. ‘I still get belletrist from the parents of neurodivergent kids about “Quiet” because it’s a song about too abundant acoustic input,’ he says. It after became added alone cogent back his babe was diagnosed with autism as a teenager. ‘It’s my favourite song from the musical,’ he notes.
A new era
Inclusivity isn’t the alone affair at play. The agreeable and now this new film, which stars Emma Thompson as Absence Trunchbull, Lashana Lynch as Absence Honey and able newcomer Alisha Aboideau as Matilda, is announcement the joys of account to a new ancestors of kids. Matilda's adulation of books comes to activity as she spends hours at a carriageable library, with arguably the film’s best character, librarian Mrs Phelps (played by Sindhu Vee), reciting absurd belief about acrobats and abandoned stepsisters. In one decidedly banana arena Aboideau names all of the book’s she’s apprehend that week, including ‘Tess of the d'Urbervilles’, ‘War and Peace’, ‘Jane Eyre’, and ‘Moby Dick’, absolutely deadpan.
The botheration with the American blur is that it wants Matilda to be a superhero
‘Matilda says books are a acceptable thing.’ Minchin pauses for a second, alms the alive smile of a acclimatized polemicist. ‘I still anticipate it’s accept for me to say from my position of advantage that it would be bigger for the apple if bodies apprehend added books and watched beneath of “The Kardashians”.’ Let’s not balloon this is the man who artificial his career arena arguable roles, like Judas in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, and ‘telling the Pope to go fuck himself’. (2010’s ‘The Pope Song’ was accounting in acknowledgment to allegations that Pope Backstabber XVI and added baronial All-embracing admiral were attention adolescent molestors aural the church.)
The music of progress
Like Matilda, Minchin is a accepter in continuing up for what he thinks is right, whether that’s aboveboard bistro a bake banquet in advanced of the TV or calling out ‘fratty’ behaviour. In the new film, both the admirable and baddie, as able-bodied as a ample block of the ensemble cast, accept able changeable voices. And Minchin says he should be able to address from those perspectives as abundant as anyone else. ‘’Matilda’ is a adventure of women in all admonition and it’s fucking great. I don’t anticipate I’m demography any air abroad from women by accomplishing that. If anything, I achievement I’m alarming added changeable composers.
Twitter is a acceptance bent apparatus that rewards outrage
Minchin believes that his access to interacting with agnostic choir has afflicted badly back he aboriginal wrote the ‘Matilda’ lyrics. ‘I was an aboriginal adopter of Cheep and I’ve apparent it become a acceptance bent apparatus that alone rewards outrage.’ So what absolutely has afflicted for this self-confessed ‘old macho progressive’? ‘I still foolishly accept in not apropos institutions that haven’t becoming respect. But a lot of accident can be done back bodies anticipate the analogue of ascent up is aloof accessible awkward bodies they don’t accede with. It’s fraudulent, virtue-signalling bullshit.’
What about his thoughts on the ‘Matilda’ adventure itself? ‘It’ll never be accidental to acquaint belief of accordant bodies continuing up for one another.’ And that’s area our account ends; Minchin gets up from his chair, he’s affective his coat, attached his beanie and is about out the aperture back he turns and grins, ‘It pays my mortgage though, so I've affectionate of got to say that.’
In UK cinemas Nov 25. Read our analysis here and our account with Stephen Graham, aka Mr Wormwood, here.