Taika Waititi and friends to read James and the Giant Peach for charity

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

James and the Giant Peach, Taika Waititi, Roald Dahl

Attention parents and lovers of timeless children's literature, Taika Waititi and a bunch of his friends are gearing up to honor the work of author Roald Dahl with a star-studded read-along of James and the Giant Peach. The fun is set to begin on Monday morning, with the first of 10 episodes of the series to be posted on the Roald Dahl YouTube channel. The event, in conjunction with the Roald Dahl Story Company, will raise money for Partners in Health, a medical and social justice organization fighting COVID-19 and supporting public health systems in some of the most vulnerable communities around the world. Dahl's daughter Ophelia is a founder of Partners in Health.

Joining the famed filmmaker for 10-episodes worth of James and the Giant Peach With Taika and Friends are a number of notable celebs, including Meryl Streep, Chris and Liam Hemsworth, Cate Blanchett, Ryan Reynolds, Mindy Kaling, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lupita Nyong'o, Billy Porter and Sarah Paulson, all reading and performing characters in the story from their homes.

"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," said Waititi. "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."

Luke Kelly, managing director of the Roald Dahl Story Company, then added, "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.

"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."

When it comes to who will be featured in each episode, it's been announced that Waititi, THOR: RAGNAROK star Chris Hemsworth, his brother Liam Hemsworth, and Nick Kroll will be featured as a part of the first episode. Meanwhile, Streep and Cumberbatch will lend their voices to the second installment of the series. As a show of good faith, the Roald Dahl Story Company has said that they'll match $1 million in donations, with other parties looking to contribute far more than that.

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," said Ophelia Dahl. "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 toward 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.

We know from experience that the impact of this virus will be felt most by vulnerable communities around the world. But with more than three decades' experience in community-based health care, including responses to epidemics and outbreaks such as Ebola, cholera and tuberculosis, we know how to fight this. And James and the Giant Peach With Taika and Friends will raise critical funds that will allow Partners in Health to invest in local health systems that deliver high-quality, dignified care to fight this disease. We're so grateful to Taika Waititi and the Roald Dahl Story Company for pulling together this extraordinary initiative and amazing array of talent. It will undoubtedly help in the fight against the long-standing health inequities we see in many parts of the world. Thank you for your generosity.

I'll be damned! The first episode of the series is available to watch right now:

Be sure to check the Roald Dahl YouTube channel throughout the week as new episodes of the series are scheduled to hit the platform on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Whether the presentation makes for a solid bedtime story or after school treat, you're not going to want to miss this unique presentation of a fantasy tale that's delighted generations for close to 60 years!

Source: YouTube

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a JoBlo.com editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.