Taika Waititi Leads Star-Studded Virtual Reading Of 'James And The Giant Peach'

May 22, 2020
Originally published on May 22, 2020 5:53 am
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Here's one way for parents to pass time at home with their kids.

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TAIKA WAITITI: I'm Taika Waititi, and welcome to this reading that I'm doing of "James And The Giant Peach."

INSKEEP: Filmmaker Taika Waititi is ambling through Roald Dahl's novel for kids, planning to get through the whole thing chapter by chapter on YouTube.

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WAITITI: (Reading) The tunnel was damp and murky, and all around him, there were curious, bittersweet smells of fresh peach. It was a peach, unsurprisingly.

NOEL KING, HOST:

He's getting help from celebrities who join him on VideoLink to read some of the characters. Meryl Streep and Benedict Cumberbatch linked up the other day to play the parts of James' miserable, mean aunts.

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MERYL STREEP: (Reading) That ought to teach him not to laze around like this the whole day long.

BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH: (Reading) That's a very good wheeze, my dear Sponge. But let's make him finish chopping up the wood first. Be off with you at once, you hideous brat. Do some work.

KING: Cate Blanchett and Eddie Redmayne play the magical insects who help James out.

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CATE BLANCHETT: (Reading) I'm famished.

WAITITI: (Reading) The old, green grasshopper said.

EDDIE REDMAYNE: (Reading) So am I.

WAITITI: (Reading) The Ladybird cried. The Centipede sat up a little straighter on the sofa.

REDMAYNE: (Reading) Everyone's famished.

WAITITI: (Reading) He said.

REDMAYNE: (Reading) We need food.

INSKEEP: All right. This reading is raising funds for a nonprofit called Partners in Health, which is run by Sheila Davis.

SHEILA DAVIS: "James And The Giant Peach," I think, is a really interesting story for this time, particularly looking at isolation and the need for people to come and help others.

INSKEEP: And isolated people can watch it because Episode 4 drops later today on YouTube. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.