The cast of “Matilda”: Where are they now?

It’s been nearly 30 years since Danny DeVito crafted the whimsical Roald Dahl adaptation.

<p>TriStar Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection</p>

TriStar Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

Matilda tells the tale of a gifted youngster whose slimy grifter parents (Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman) make her feel like an outsider, but her fortune soon changes when she develops telekinetic powers. Instead of being recruited by Professor Xavier for the X-Men, she’s sent to an elementary school that’s more akin to a prison. There, Matilda faces off with the headmistress Miss Trunchbull (Pam Ferris), a burly juggernaut in desperate need of a facial peel who hates children and has a penchant for cruel and creative punishment.

DeVito directed this beloved 1996 film based on the children’s novel by Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Witches, and James and the Giant Peach. Matilda scratched every child’s secret ambition to have superpowers, prompting kids to spend hours squinting intently at household objects, convinced they could move them with their minds (or maybe that was just us…). But more importantly, the movie proves that the world is a better place with a little bit of magic in it.

Here what the Matilda cast has been up to since witnessing Bruce devour that chocolate cake.

Mara Wilson (Matilda Wormwood)

<p>TriStar Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection; Randy Shropshire/Getty </p>

TriStar Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection; Randy Shropshire/Getty

Successful ‘90s child star Mara Wilson hit an early career peak as the eponymous child prodigy in Matilda. Her acting career began at age 6 when she debuted alongside Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), after which she filmed the 1994 remake of Miracle on 34th Street with Elizabeth Perkins and Richard Attenborough.

Danny DeVito was immediately impressed with her audition, later telling the now-grown actress, "I knew I wanted you for Matilda from the moment you walked in."

Wilson lost her mother to breast cancer when she was 8, before the release of Matilda, which made the stress of fame extremely difficult. Sought after for her “cuteness” as she got older, she began to feel Hollywood was losing its luster. Puberty is already horrible and awkward enough, but Wilson had to go through it while filming Thomas and the Magic Railroad (2000). In a 2016 interview with NPR to promote her book Where Am I Now?, she mentions the embarrassment at being asked to wear a sports bra to bind her chest. “I felt completely humiliated,” she said. “When you're in middle school, when you're a preteen, you always worry: Is everybody talking about me behind my back? And everybody was.”

Eventually, the toll of being a child star caught up with Wilson, who took a well-deserved break to pursue her education at NYU and find her voice as a writer. In 2016, she publicly came out as bisexual/queer following the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. She’s since continued writing and began acting again, doing voice work in Bojack Horseman (2016) and Big Hero 6: The Series (2018–2019) as well as an on-screen cameo in Broad City (2016). In 2024, Wilson reunited with DeVito as he narrated a screening of Matilda: Live in Concert with the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

Danny DeVito (Harry Wormwood/Narrator)

<p>TriStar/Courtesy Everett Collection; Bruce Glikas/WireImage</p>

TriStar/Courtesy Everett Collection; Bruce Glikas/WireImage

Danny DeVito puts the art in con artist. He served as the film’s narrator, director, and Matilda’s slimeball father who believes “when life gives you lemons, sell them as used cars.” DeVito made his big break on the small screen through Taxi (1978–1983), earning an Emmy and a Golden Globe for playing Louie De Palma. As he rose to movie stardom, he made a memorably mismatched on-screen duo with Arnold Schwarzenegger in Twins (1988) and Junior (1994), followed by the disorganized crime comedy Get Shorty (1995). He flexed his villain fins as The Penguin in Tim Burton’s Batman Returns (1992), reuniting with the director for Mars Attacks! (1996) and later with Michael Keaton for the live-action Dumbo in 2019. DeVito also offered his voice talents to the animated Disney film Hercules (1997) and Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax (2012).

Having previously directed films like Throw Momma from the Train (1987), The War of the Roses (1989), and Hoffa (1992), DeVito chose to take on Matilda thanks to his own children with Rhea Perlman, who also played his on-screen wife. Talking with ScreenRant in 2024, he explained: “I was introduced to the book by my kids… I'd never heard of it. Rhea and I read it, we did it in chapters every night, we'd read a little bit of it. And I said, ‘This is amazing. This is wonderful. There's great parts in it for us and it's great for kids.’"

His other directorial efforts include Death to Smoochy (2002) and Duplex (2003).

In 2006 DeVito joined the cast of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (2005–present) as Frank Reynolds. The show has since become the longest-running live-action sitcom in U.S. television history.

After briefly splitting up in 2012, he and Perlman separated again in 2017 after 30 years of marriage. They share three children together and though not divorced, they are no longer a couple and remain still friends. In 2024, DeVito joined Matilda’s composer David Newman and conducted the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra for a live concert screening of the film with narration by DeVito himself.

Rhea Perlman (Zinnia Wormwood)

<p>Hulton Archive/Getty; Frazer Harrison/Getty </p>

Hulton Archive/Getty; Frazer Harrison/Getty

When it comes to being a loving parent, Matilda’s mother is colder than her frozen TV dinners. Played by Rhea Perlman alongside her real-life husband Danny DeVito, the beauty and bingo-obsessed matriarch was pretty neglectful. The duo first played an on-screen couple in the classic sitcom Taxi, but she’s best known for the hit sitcom Cheers, which ran for 11 seasons starting in 1982. Her portrayal of the saucy cocktail waitress Carla Tortelli won her four Emmys for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy. She later starred in her own sitcom, Pearl (1996–1997), and continued acting in shows like Becker (2001) with Cheers castmate Ted Danson, HBO’s Hung (2009–2010), and The Mindy Project (2014–2017).

Though Perlman and DeVito are separated, she clarified on Louis-Dreyfus' Wiser Than Me podcast that they’re “still married” and don’t plan on getting divorced. “We are still very good friends and we see each other a lot. And our family is still the most important thing to both of us." They share three now-grown children: Lucy, Grace, and Jake. In 2023, Perlman welcomed her first grandchild, Sinclair Lucille DeVito. She recently graced the silver screen in Barbie (2023) as Ruth Handler, creator of the blonde bombshell herself.

Pam Ferris (Agatha Trunchbull)

<p>Moviestore/Shutterstock; Mike Marsland/WireImage</p>

Moviestore/Shutterstock; Mike Marsland/WireImage

Agatha Trunchbull, played by Pam Ferris, will put you in your place — or shot-put you right out of the school grounds. As principal of Crunchem Hall, she believes in discipline, order, and grabbing life by the pigtails (the latter scene even sent Ferris to the hospital for an injured hand). She loathes children so much she denies ever having been one.

On set, Ferris tried to keep up her menacing appearance, telling RadioTimes in 2016, "We had a discussion, Danny [DeVito] and I, before we met the little ones, that I should stay aloof from them and only meet them in character to try and keep that awed look in their face and the fear.”

However, the children soon discovered she was a big softie. "It broke down very quickly because they were daring little ones there that just came straight up to me and put their hand in mine between takes,” she said. “I fell in love with them completely and there were a couple I wanted to bring back to Britain with me."

If you think her performance in Matilda was “much too good for children,” you may also recognize her from another beloved film as Aunt Marge, the brute bully turned human weather balloon in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004). She reunited with DeVito for his showbiz satire Death to Smoochy (2002) and appeared in movies like Children of Men (2006), Tolkien (2019), and the Will Ferrell/John C.Reilly comedy Holmes & Watson (2018), in which she played none other than Queen Victoria. As for television, the actress notably starred in Rosemary & Thyme (2003–2006) and Call the Midwife (2012–2016).

Ferris has been married to actor Roger Frost since 1986. He also appeared in a Roald Dahl adaptation of his own, Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005).

Embeth Davidtz (Miss Jennifer Honey)

<p>Tri Star/Kobal/Shutterstock; Chelsea Lauren/Variety/Penske Media via Getty</p>

Tri Star/Kobal/Shutterstock; Chelsea Lauren/Variety/Penske Media via Getty

With a name to match her sweet demeanor, Matilda’s teacher Miss Honey was brought to life by Embeth Davidtz. She lived in fear of her aunt, the gristly tyrant Miss Trunchbull, and helped Matilda bring the school out of the dark ages.

After growing up in South Africa, Davidtz landed early roles in Army of Darkness (1992) and Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List (1993). Her career includes major films — Bicentennial Man (1999), The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011), The Amazing Spider-Man (2012), and M. Night Shyamalan’s Old (2021) — and smaller features like Mansfield Park (1999) and Junebug (2004). She’s no stranger to the small screen, either, having appeared in Mad Men (2009), Ray Donovan (2016), The Morning Show (2019), and Tales of the Walking Dead (2022).

In 2013, Davidtz was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer and took a break from acting to undergo treatment. Following a double mastectomy, the actress spoke with Vulture in 2016 about declining to use any prosthetics for a nude scene in Ray Donovan. “My reps were all like, ‘Why would you do this? You don’t want to be thought of as some sort of freak.’ I just said, ‘Look, I don’t see myself that way.’ This is a town where almost everybody’s breasts have been sliced, diced, manipulated, and put back together. Mine haven’t been, but this is part of my journey. I said, ‘I feel really strongly about it. I’m going to take a leap.’”

Davidtz previously dated Harvey Keitel in the ’90s before marrying her husband Jason Sloane in 2002. The couple shares two children, Charlotte and Asher.

Paul Reubens (FBI Agent)

<p>TriStar Pictures; Mike Pont/WireImage</p>

TriStar Pictures; Mike Pont/WireImage

Though more commonly known for his slapstick, Paul Reubens played a more subdued sleuth as an FBI agent investigating Matilda’s dad for dealing stolen car parts.

Hailing from the improv comedy troupe the Groundlings, Paul created his iconic character Pee-wee Herman in 1978. Tim Burton soon directed Pee-wee’s Big Adventure in 1985, followed by Big Top Pee-wee (1988). Reuben also voiced Max, the ship from the family sci-fi flick Flight of the Navigator (1986), as well as “Rex,” the now-defunct droid who originally piloted the Star Tours attraction at the Disney Theme Parks.

Reubens returned to his iconic gray suit — and even scored several Emmys — for the Saturday morning show Pee-wee’s Playhouse (1986–1991). He worked again with Burton and Matilda costar Danny DeVito as Tucker Cobblepot, father of the Penguin in Batman Returns (1992). Reubens then lent his voice to the pernicious trick-or-treater Lock in The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993). Paul later returned to TV, landing an Emmy nomination for his recurring role on Murphy Brown. He continued to stand out in guest roles on shows like 30 Rock (2007), Dirt (2007), and Pushing Daisies (2008). In 2011, he dusted off the red bowtie for a stage production of The Pee-wee Herman Show and then filmed Pee-wee’s Big Holiday (2016), produced by Judd Apatow for Netflix.

In 2023, Reubens died of respiratory failure at age 70 after a private six-year battle with acute myelogenous leukemia and metastatic lung cancer.

Kiami Davael (Lavender)

<p>TriStar Pictures; Kiami Davael/Instagram</p>

TriStar Pictures; Kiami Davael/Instagram

In her debut role, Kiami Davael played Lavender, Matilda’s first real friend who pranks Miss Trunchbull with a frog in her water glass.

After Matilda, Davael made several TV appearances, including turns on Conan the Adventurer (1998), Moesha (1999), and The Steve Harvey Show (1999). Her final film was Bruno (2000) before taking a break from acting. After studying psychology and theater at the University of Kentucky, she is again pursuing acting, singing, and writing while still keeping in touch with costar Mara Wilson.

Brian Levinson (Mikey Wormwood)

<p>TriStar/Courtesy Everett Collection</p>

TriStar/Courtesy Everett Collection

No ’90s family was complete without a snot-nosed brother, and Matilda was no exception. Played by Brian Levinson, Mikey Wormwood’s greatest talent is his low IQ. The child actor first landed roles in the big-budget sequel Predator 2 (1990) and the sitcoms Roseanne (1991) and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (1992). After filming Matilda, Levinson made his final acting appearance via an episode of Seinfeld in 1997. He served nine years in the U.S. Marine Corps and got married in 2012. He currently works in events and promotions for San Diego nightlife.

The Chocolate Cake

<p>Tristar Pictures</p>

Tristar Pictures

Starting its career as flour, sugar, eggs, and butter, this was Chocolate Cake’s first starring role. Sadly, it was eaten in its entirety during the filming of Matilda. Its remains currently reside inside Bruce’s stomach. Its cousin, Raspberry Chocolate Fudge Cake, appeared in the opening credits for The Great British Baking Show and guest starred on Is It Cake?

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