Taika Waititi leading ensemble James and the Giant Peach read-along!
After signing on in March to write, direct and executive produce two animated adaptations of Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for Netflix, Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit) is expanding his work with the iconic author’s library by leading an ensemble read-along of his 1961 novel James and the Giant Peach! The first of ten episodes and outtakes can be viewed in the player below!
The 10-episode read-along of the novel, entitled James and the Giant Peach with Taika and Friends, is a partnership between the Oscar winner and Roald Dahl Story Company to help raise money for Partners in Help, a medical and social justice organization fighting COVID-19 and supporting public health systems in some of the most vulnerable communities around the world, which was co-founded by Roald’s daughter Ophelia.
“Being an adult child myself and having read James and the Giant Peach to my girls multiple times, I’m excited to be able to partner with my friends, the Dahl team and Partners in Health and re-tell this story to help those most in need right now,” Waititi said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “This wacky, wonderful tale is about resilience in children, triumph over adversity and dealing with a sense of isolation which couldn’t been more relevant today.”
The cast for the virtual read-along includes Meryl Streep (Little Women), Chris (Thor: Ragnarok) and Liam Hemsworth (Arkansas), Cate Blanchett (Thor: Ragnarok), Ryan Reynolds (Free Guy), Mindy Kaling (The Mindy Project), Benedict Cumberbatch (Avengers: Endgame), Lupita Nyong’o (Black Panther), Billy Porter (Pose), Nick Kroll (Big Mouth) and Sarah Paulson (Mrs. America), among others.
“Roald Dahl’s stories are about the power and importance of kindness — and as a business we believe in enacting that ethos,” Luke Kelly, managing director of the Roald Dahl Story Company, said in a statement. “That’s why we support the critical work of charities such as Partners in Health who are working on the front line in the fight against COVID-19. We are so delighted to be able to support this retelling of James and the Giant Peach and not only bring a moment of joy and escapism to children and families at this very tough time — but also to raise vital funds for Partners in Health. We’re incredibly grateful and excited to have Taika and so many incredible stars taking part. We can’t wait for people to see what we’ve got in store — it’s going to be absolutely GIGANTIC fun.”
“My dad instilled in us as kids the notion that imagination will spark a chain reaction of possibilities — we can dream endlessly about ideas and make them real,” Ophelia Dahl said in a statement. “This early training meant it was not such a leap to envision Partners in Health with my friends. Roald was one of our earliest and most enthusiastic supporters and never let me leave for Haiti without stuffing a massive wad of cash in my hand to put towards the next project. You can see from his stories that he always supported the most vulnerable and those excluded from opportunity. PIH was the perfect match. We know from experience that the impact of this virus will be felt most by vulnerable communities around the world. But with more than three decades’ experience in community-based health care, including responses to epidemics and outbreaks such as Ebola, cholera and tuberculosis, we know how to fight this. And James and the Giant Peach With Taika and Friends will raise critical funds that will allow Partners in Health to invest in local health systems that deliver high-quality, dignified care to fight this disease. We’re so grateful to Taika Waititi and the Roald Dahl Story Company for pulling together this extraordinary initiative and amazing array of talent. It will undoubtedly help in the fight against the long-standing health inequities we see in many parts of the world. Thank you for your generosity.”
The first episode is currently available to view on Roald Dahl’s YouTube channel now with new episodes being posted Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and fans can head to the effort’s Partners in Help donation page here!
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