Taika Waititi seems to be just about everywhere these days. The director/writer/actor has just launched his of version of James and the Giant Peach with a 'Taika and Friends read-along series', in which he enlists the help of celebrity friends to play different characters in the story. The Roald Dahl Story Company set up the ten-episode series to raise money for public health organizations all over the world.
The 10 episodes of James and the Giant Peach With Taika and Friends will be posted Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays on the official Roald Dahl YouTube channel. The readings feature some of Waititi's "friends," including Meryl Streep, Chris and Liam Hemsworth, Cate Blanchett, Ryan Reynolds, Mindy Kaling, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lupita Nyong'o, Billy Porter, and Sarah Paulson, and others. Each person will be playing a different character and reading from the comfort of their own homes. Waititi had this to say about James and the Giant Peach With Taika and Friends.
"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. 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."
James and the Giant Peach is one of Roald Dahl's best-known stories and was made into an stop-motion animated movie back in 1996. Since a lot of people are staying indoors these days, Hollywood has been trying to find ways to keep families entertained, and Taika Waititi has been doing a lot to make sure that happens. Luke Kelly, managing director of the Roald Dahl Story Company, also spoke about the special event. He explains.
"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."
Ophelia Dahl, daughter Roald Dahl, is a founder of Partners in Health. Now is the time to be bringing attention to public health and bringing Taika Waititi on board is a good way of doing so. For all of the money donated during the 10 episodes, The Roald Dahl Story Company will match it. You can read what Ophelia Dahl had to say about James and the Giant Peach With Taika and Friends below.
"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. 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."
As of today (Monday, May 18th), there is one episode up of about James and the Giant Peach With Taika and Friends, which features Taika Waititi with Chris and Liam Hemsworth, and comedian Nick Kroll. There is also a trailer which teases what people can expect over the rest of the episodes. As one would expect, Waititi has brought along his trademark sense of humor to the readings, guaranteeing that his fans will enjoy every page. You can check out the trailer and the first episode above, thanks to the Roald Dahl HQ YouTube channel.