James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl is a magical, surreal story. Now it’s becoming even more magical and surreal with the help of some celebrities.
That’s because actor and Academy-Award winning filmmaker Taika Waiti is leading an all-star cast in a reading of the famous children’s book.
This reading is sure to bring a smile to your kid’s faces. For starters, they’ll love the quirky story about a boy who goes on an adventure after stepping into a magical peach. They’ll also love the celebrities — Waititi’s “closest friends” as he says in the first video — who inject humor into each video.
In the first installment, Waititi kicks off the James and the Giant Peach reading. He narrates while his fellow actors lend their voices to the characters.
In part one, the Hemsworth brothers give voice to Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge. Later, Meryl Streep and Benedict Cumberbatch will play the aunts. In other words, this is probably the only time Chris Hemsworth and Meryl Streep will ever share a role.
Other actors expected to join in on the James and the Giant Peach reading include Ryan Reynolds, Mindy Kaling, Cate Blanchett, and Lupita Nyong’o, in addition to dozens of others.
In total, there were be 10 video installments of James and the Giant Peach. Two installments have already been released. Future readings will been released on the Roald Dahl YouTube page on subsequent Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
So why are Waititi and celebrities all over the world reading James and the Giant Peach? In addition to offering some entertainment while we’re all stuck at home, they’re raising money for Partners in Health (PIH). PIH is an organization that addresses health issues around the world, especially vulnerable areas currently affected by coronavirus. You can donate on PIH’s site here. The Roald Dahl Story Company has also promised to match all donations up to a million dollars!
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We think that @stylistmagazine may have just made their very best selection yet for this week’s #StylistBookClub. #SummerofJames ?? . . RG: ‘Stylist’s photography director @tomgormer picks James And The Giant Peach by Roald Dahl for this week’s #stylistbookclub. “A talking grasshopper, aunts Spiker and Sponge and a long-haul flight to New York… James And The Giant Peach was the first proper book I ever read and I can still remember borrowing it from the school library and rushing home to read it, staying up until really late (probably 10pm) under the covers with a torch devouring every page,” he says. “Looking back it’s actually quite dark – the book opens with James’ parents getting killed and eaten by an escaped rhino. But this book opened up a whole new world of Dahl’s storytelling and these are the books I still re-read today.”
We could all use the story of James and the Giant Peach right now. As Waititi shares in one video, Dahl’s famous story is about “resilience in children, triumph over adversity, and dealing with a sense of isolation which couldn’t be more relevant today.” If that’s not timely right now, I don’t know what is.
Waititi loves Roald Dahl’s quirky stories. Just in case this fabulous reading wasn’t proof enough, the filmmaker is also working on two new Netflix series based on Dahl’s stories and characters.