Lockdown story time: Oscar-winning filmmaker Taika Waititi leads Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach Covid-19 fundraiser

Oscar-winning New Zealand filmmaker Taika Waititi, director of Jojo Rabbit and Thor: Ragnarok, is leading the Covid-19 fundraiser project to read Roald Dahl’s 1961 children’s novel James and the Giant Peach along with his Hollywood friends chiming in, voicing characters and having fun.

Meryl Streep, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett, Cynthia Erivo, Beanie Feldstein, Josh Gad, Mindy Kaling, Gordon Ramsay, Eddie Redmayne, Olivia Wilde, Ruth Wilson and Archie Yates are among the cast.

Chris Hemsworth along with his brother Liam will be seen in their first performance together for this project.

The novel will be read in 10 instalments, with various actors appearing as characters in the story. The first two episodes went live from Monday on the Roald Dahl YouTube channel. New episodes will be available each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. According to, “Each episode will also be accompanied by family-friendly activities for viewers to enjoy, including crafts, experiments, and competitions.”

ALSO READ: 10 quotes by Roald Dahl that’ll take you down memory lane; lesser-known facts about the author and more

Funds raised will go to Partners In Health, a charity for maternal health in Sierra Leone. Earlier this year, the acclaimed director was as the writer-director-executive producer of two Netflix based original animated series based on Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Waititi described himself as “an adult child myself”, who has read the book many times to his daughters.

“This wacky, wonderful tale is about resilience in children, triumph over adversity and dealing with a sense of isolation which couldn’t be more relevant today,” he said.


James and the Giant Peach tells the story of an orphaned boy, imprisoned and treated poorly by two evil aunts. When he drops magic crystals by an old peach tree, it accidentally grows into a giant peach that becomes his entrance to a new world full of adventure and enchanting characters. James’s story of isolation is especially relevant to readers globally during the Covid-19 crisis.

The Roald Dahl Story Company has committed to donating £1 million towards Covid-19 impacted charities, including Partners In Health and Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity.

— with inputs from Reuters

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