‘Matilda’ leads celebrity lineup at London Film Festival

The BFI London Film Festival is back in full swing this year after a pandemic-impacted stripped-down 2021.

The annual extravaganza kicked off Wednesday night with the premiere of a new musical action film based on “Matilda” — the first time in a decade that a family-friendly film has opened the festival.

Based on a Roald Dahl story and featuring a song by Tim Minchin, newcomer Alyssa Weir is supported by stars including Emma Thompson, Lashana Lynch and Stephen Graham as the protagonist. All will walk the red carpet at the Royal Festival Hall on opening night.

Speaking ahead of the gala, festival director Tricia Tuttle called the selection of the opening film “a pleasure”, adding that “it was very good for everyone”.

The London Film Festival is in its 66th year and prides itself on being more “audience-oriented” than any other film festival around the world.

“If you’re a public ticket buyer, you can walk the red carpet. You can’t do that at a lot of festivals. It’s really a big part of our identity,” Tuttle said.

Celebrities expected to attend this year include actor/producer Jennifer Lawrence in “Causeway” and Timothee Chalamet in Luca Guadagnino’s Cannibals Romance ‘Bones and All’ stars Cate Blanchett and Christoph Waltz in Guillermo del Toro stop-motion animation “Pinocchio”.

The festival ends on Sunday, October. On the 16th, Ryan Johnson’s “Knives Out” sequel, “Glass Onion,” starring Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Janelle Monae and Leslie Odom Jr., premiered.

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