The Devastating Story Behind The Filming Of 'Matilda'

This is heartbreaking...

The Devastating Story Behind The Filming Of 'Matilda' TriStar Pictures

Matilda will always be one of those films we hold near and dear, telling the tale of how one individual can soldier through adversity no matter what. 

It taught us to follow our passions and to stand up for what is right. 

But despite the uplifting tale it is, there were some heartbreaking things happening during the filming that make us feel for little Matilda even more. 


While filming the movie, Mara Wilson's (who played Matilda) mother Suzie was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Then only 8-years-old, Mara’s life completely changed. 

Her dad took on all of the family duties and her on-screen parents, Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman became like her surrogate parents to help her through. 

In her book, Where Am I Now?, Mara talked about the experience of it all, and how DeVito and Perlman would always try to include her in their family lives. 

“It was very hard… and they were so nice. 

“While my mom was sick and in the hospital, they would invite me over and take care of me and get my mind off things. 

“I felt very familial. 

“Danny and Rhea were like my favourite aunt and uncle.”


Sadly, Mara’s mother died 13-months after her initial diagnosis, six months after filming on Matilda wrapped. 

Mara revealed something truly touching in an interview on U.S talk show Lorraine, saying, "I was worried she wouldn't get to see the film. I didn't know this until later, but Danny DeVito took it unfinished to the hospital and showed it to her.

"She loved it. My mother always loved the book as well and used to read it to the children at my brother's school, so it was a real family affair," she said.

"My heart was warmed as she was involved until the very end.”


Mara felt so grateful to have had such a supportive group of family and friends to help her through such a heartbreaking time. 

We’re glad she had them, too.