Watch: Taika Waititi and international stars read Roald Dahl classic

The Roald Dahl Story Company has brought together Academy Award-winning filmmaker Taika Waititi and a host of other stars to bring a classic Dahl children’s story to life in a charity fundraiser.

Taika Waititi reads Roald Dahl classic James and the Giant Peach
Taika Waititi reads Roald Dahl classic James and the Giant Peach

Academy Award-winning director Taika Waititi has invited an illustrious group of A-list Hollywood stars to read James and the Giant Peach during lockdown.

The collaboration between Roald Dahl Story Company, Waititi and the celebrities is part of a campaign to raise money for charities affected by the coronavirus crisis, including Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity in the UK, which provides specialist nurses to seriously ill children and whose important work for the NHS requires support now more than ever.

In the first two episodes of James and the Giant Peach with Taika and Friends, Waititi is joined by Chris and Liam Hemsworth, Meryl Streep, Benedict Cumberbatch and Nick Kroll, to read portions of the book from their homes.

Other celebrities to feature in future episodes include Cate Blanchett, Jamie Cullum, Cara Delevingne, Mindy Kaling, Lupita Nyong'o, Sarah Paulson, Billy Porter, Gordon Ramsay, Eddie Redmayne and Ryan Reynolds.

The Roald Dahl Story Company will match the first $1m of donations to Partners In Health, with other partners lined up to match donations beyond this milestone.

Waititi was recently announced as the writer, director and executive producer of two original Roald Dahl animated series for Netflix based on the world and characters of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the Oompa-Loompas.

“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 retell this story to help those most in need right now,” the director of Thor: Ragnarok and Jojo Rabbit said.

“This wacky, wonderful tale is about resilience in children, triumph over adversity and dealing with a sense of isolation, which couldn't be more relevant today.”

Roald Dahl Story Company managing director Luke Kelly said: “Roald Dahl’s stories are about the power and importance of kindness – and as a business, we believe in enacting that ethos. 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.”

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