Mathilde will be 25 in 2021, and the beloved film still holds a place in people’s hearts all those years later. The 1996 film starred Danny DeVito and a young Mara Wilson, and was based on the story of the same name by famous children’s author Roald Dahl.
“Matilda” was a resounding success
Mathilde has remained a part of popular culture for many reasons. The story, above all, remains one of the film’s biggest draws.
Mara Wilson plays Matilda Wormwood, a 6-year-old who struggles at home and at school, but overcomes everything to a happy ending – with the help of some special telekinetic powers, of course. Her cranky father is played by DeVito, who also directed the film.
The scene 1 in ‘Matilda’ that everyone remembers
Without a doubt, the scene of Mathilde which most people remember today is the infamous consumption of chocolate cake.
At Matilda’s School, students are subjected to mistreatment and abuse at the hands of the cruel and selfish principal, Miss Trunchbull, played by Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban actor Pam Ferris. In the chocolate cake scene, children witness its cruelty.
Miss Trunchbull forces a college student, Bruce Bogtrotter, to eat a piece of chocolate cake even if he doesn’t want to. She then tells him to eat a giant whole chocolate cake, with fondant frosting. Just to upset her and prove a point, Bruce Bogtrotter devours the entire cake to the applause of the students.
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The story behind the chocolate cake scene
The chocolate cake scene isn’t just the most recognizable scene in Mathilde; it is without a doubt one of the most famous cinematic moments of all time. But despite his iconic character, not everyone was willing to keep the scene in the film.
In 2016, several Mathilde the cast members spoke to Thrillist and told secrets about the film and more. Writer Robin Swicord has revealed that the scene remaining in the film is subject to debate.
“There have been times when, in the budgeting process in particular, [producers] were like, “Do we really need the Bruce Bogtrotter scene with the chocolate cake?” “Because that doesn’t move the story forward,” Swicord said. “But I really loved that scene because his super power was that he could eat a lot of chocolate cake.”
Unsurprisingly, it was a difficult scene to film. Cinematographer Stefan Czapsky told Thrillist the cold, hard truth: “He hated chocolate cake.”
In the 2005 Mathilde DVD documentary, DeVito confirmed that there was a lot of cake involved, and that it was a messy experience to film.
“It’s really disgusting, [but] I’m going to tell you anyway… We made him stuff the face, but then I cut the camera [and] he would spit it out! DeVito revealed, saying that if he had actually eaten all that cake, it wouldn’t have been pretty.