Netflix’s Matilda Remake Sparks Backlash With Use of ‘Fat Suit’

Netflix recently revealed a new trailer along with some first look images for Matilda the Musical, a new take on the famous Roald Dahl story. The cast includes Dame Emma Thompson as Miss Trunchbull, and for the casting, the actress underwent a physical transformation. Along with facial prosthetics, Thompson also wore what’s often described as a “fat suit” under her clothing. This has sparked a renewed conversation online about the use of fat suits in movies and television, as there are many people who find it to be offensive.

“It has been really disappointing to see Emma Thompson put on a fat suit for this role,” one disappointed Thompson fan tweeted. “I’ve always loved her work. But this is just so gross.”

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Another tweeter adds, “I can’t believe someone would agree to put a thin person into this costume for Matilda the musical. The original was already fat phobic enough but now they put Emma Thompson into a fat suit.”

“STOP THIS,” says someone else. “Another actor in a fat suit coming to a movie near you. There are fat people who can act. CAST THEM if the role is for a fat character. Ugh ugh ugh.”

Many others on social media are echoing these same sentiments, but this is certainly not a one-sided debate. There are others who argue that Thompson is simply a phenomenal actress who was right for the part, while her physical transformation for the role is to make her look more like how she is described in the source material. In any case, the Matilda the Musical fat suit has generated a lot of chatter.

Netflix Reimagines Matilda With This New Reboot

Sony Pictures/Netflix

Previously, Matilda was developed as a feature film which was directed by Danny DeVito, who also co-starred alongside Mara Wilson. This new Matilda the Musical movie is directed by Matthew Warchus and written by Dennis Kelly, though it’s based on the 1988 novel by Roald Dahl and the previous film. Alisha Weir plays the new Matilda Wormwood with Emma Thompson as Miss Trunchbull, and the cast also includes Lashana Lynch, Stephen Graham, Andrea Riseborough, and Sindhu Vee. You can check out the new trailer and synopsis below.

Matilda Wormwood (Weir) is a little girl with big curiosity, a sharp mind and a vivid imagination — and the worst parents in the world. While her parents (Graham and Riseborough) content themselves with trashy TV and dodgy money-making schemes, she loves to lose herself in the pages of her beloved books. Where they are loud, selfish and unkind she is a quiet observer, thinking up small and cheeky acts of rebellion and revenge.On meeting her inspirational teacher, Miss Honey (Lynch), Matilda is encouraged and begins conjuring her own fantastical tales. Excited to attend Crunchem Hall, Matilda is surprised to find the school is an ominous and oppressive place led by the huge and villainous Miss Trunchbull (Thompson).As well as kind Miss Honey, the bright lights among the meanness are story-loving librarian, Mrs. Phelps (Vee), and Matilda’s newfound school friends. Filled with an overwhelming sense of justice, Matilda dares to take a stand for what is right and teach Trunchbull a lesson she won’t forget.

Matilda the Musical will be released this holiday season across the world excluding the UK and Ireland; Sony Pictures U.K. and Tristar Pictures will release the film in UK and Ireland exclusively in cinemas on Dec. 2, 2022.