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Taika Waititi leads star-studded online read of James and the Giant Peach

Reading time: 2 mins

Taika Waititi is leading a star-studded reading of James and the Giant Peach online for charity.

Taika is no stranger to Roald Dahl, with a deal in place for him to direct the first two in a slew of series based on his books for Netflix.

The 1961 book is one of Roald Dahl’s best loved books, inspiring not only a stop-motion adaptation in the 90s by Disney, but also a musical in 2010. The story follows James Henry Trotter lives with two ghastly hags. Aunt Sponge is enormously fat with a face that looks boiled and Aunt Spiker is bony and screeching. He’s very lonely until one day something peculiar happens. At the end of the garden a peach starts to grow – and inside that peach are seven very unusual insects, all waiting to take James on a magical adventure.

Now, the book is coming to life in a new way, with Taika reading it aloud online to raise money for Partners In Health – a charity that works on the front lines with some of the most vulnerable communities in the world, building health systems, protecting the vulnerable, and saving lives.

Over the series, Taika will be joined by Cate Blanchett, Jamie Cullum, Benedict Cumberbatch, Roman Griffin Davis, Cara Delevingne, Cynthia Erivo, Beanie Feldstein, Josh Gad, Chris Hemsworth, Liam Hemsworth, Mindy Kaling, Nick Kroll, Kumail Nanjiani, Lupita Nyong’o, Sarah Paulson, Billy Porter, Gordon Ramsay, Eddie Redmayne, Ryan Reynolds, Ben Schwartz, Meryl Streep, Tessa Thompson, Olivia Wilde, Ruth Wilson, Archie Yates and Utkarsh Ambudkar.

Each star will take it in turns to read parts across a total of 10 episodes. In Episode 1, Taika is joined by Chris Hemsworth, Liam Hemsworth and Nick Kroll as they read the first four chapters. In Episode 2, Taika is joined by Benedict Cumberbatch and Meryl Streep, who take on the roles of Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge, as they read Chapters 5 to 8.

Produced Maggie Burrows and Bee Carrozzini, the online reading is edited by Laura Mills, with music by Paul Spring and original music from Will Epstein.

New episodes are released every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6pm UK time on the Roald Dahl YouTube channel.

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