Danny Devito may have been a terrible father to her in “Matilda,” but behind the scenes, they formed a close bond.
Matilda is one of the most important books by renowned children’s author Roald Dahl. First released in 1988, the book followed the life of Matilda, a young girl who is ignored and abandoned by her parents. Matilda decides that she had enough and discovers that she has abilities that border on magical powers. The book gained an immense following, being appreciated by both children and adults alike.
The book was so successful that legendary actor Danny DeVito pushed forward with a film adaptation. After a long search, DeVito chose Mara Wilson to play the film’s heroine. Prior to her role as Matilda, Mara impressed audiences with supporting roles in Mrs. Doubtfire and the 1994 remake of Miracle on 34th Street. Mara’s part in Matilda brought her immense fame and she became instantly recognizable to any child of the 90s. As Mara basked in her newfound fame, she endured a tremendous storm in her home life.
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During the filming of Matilda, Mara’s mother, Suzie, was diagnosed with cancer. Mara spoke on the Lorraine Show for ITV news about how the film Matilda meant so much to her mother, “My mother actually used to read it [Matilda] at my brother’s school when they were nine or ten, she would read it out loud because she could do all the character voices,” Mara revealed on the show. Following the diagnosis, DeVito and his wife, Rhea Perlman, offered their support to the Wilson family, saying that they would happily care for Mara whenever the family needed them. The couple frequently invited the young girl to their home for pool parties and other events, and Mara greatly appreciated all the acting advice the two bestowed on her.
Unfortunately, Suzie passed away just after Mara had finished filming on Matilda, never being able to see her daughter play the character they both loved so much. Mara would later describe the immense feeling of sadness and despair that gripped her whole family in her book Where am I Now? One of the things that haunted Mara was that her mother never got to see her role as Matilda. All that changed following a conversation she had recently with DeVito.
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Following her mother’s death, Mara became close with DeVito and Perlman, saying that they became a surrogate aunt and uncle for her. When she expressed her sadness to DeVito that her mom never got to see Matilda, DeVito revealed a secret he kept for over a decade. In addition to acting in the film, DeVito also served as the director and producer of Matilda. As such, DeVito had access to early cuts of the film, he revealed to Mara that he had shown Mara’s mom an early cut of the movie. When Mara heard about this she was so heart warmed that her mother got to see the film because she knew how much it meant to her.
What do you think of Mara’s special relationship with Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman? Have you ever had people be like second parents to you? Let us know in the comments. Make sure to show this article to any Matilda fans.