Composer Tim Minchin spoke with Simon Mayo tonight (Monday) on his Greatest Hits Radio show ahead of the release of the movie version of his musical Matilda in theaters this Friday.

Tim discusses why he didn’t see any of the movie that was being shot, how Emma Thompson is a “Dahl monster,” and the extraordinary performance of newcomer Alisha Weir that is at the heart of the movie.

Tim explains how Covid meant he missed seeing his musical Matilda come to life: ‘Matilda was all done without me and it’s fine because I’m the composer/lyricist – I wasn’t the director. I wasn’t involved much, except then Matthew [Warchus, the director] was casting if I had wanted to. I suppose I could have made a fuss, but I don’t get involved where I’m not needed. I mostly just sat back other than writing a new song for it, and I was really hoping I’d go to the UK and watch some of the recordings just for my own joy and edification, but I was stuck in the whole period Australia .’

Tim on newcomer Alisha Weir who plays Matilda: ‘I think this is the best children’s performance I’ve ever seen on film in my life, it’s extraordinary. And when I say the best, we can all think of iconic kids in movies, but what she has to do vocally and emotionally is truly phenomenal, she’s absolutely amazing. But it’s also because of her chemistry with Lashana Lynch, who is suddenly this huge star – she’s been in Marvel movies, she’s been 007 – and in this movie she’s completely different. She is such an extraordinary actress that she takes on a completely different energy.

Emma Thompson is totally bonkers and crazy and a real Dahl monster and the crux of this movie is the relationship between Miss Honey and Matilda. There’s a moment in the movie that just makes me sob. I don’t think it makes kids cry, which is good because kids don’t like to cry, but when you’re an adult, most adults like to cry and this will do it for you.”

Listen to Tim Minchin talk to Simon Mayo on The Simon Mayo Drivetime Show on Greatest Hits Radio today. For more, visit

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