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Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Chris Hemsworth and more in charity Roald Dahl read-along

James & The Giant Peach

Story by Jack Foley

SOME of the cream of Hollywood’s top filmmaking talent are coming together for a Roald Dahl read-along in support of charity.

Meryl Streep, Chris and Liam Hemsworth, Cate Blanchett, Ryan Reynolds, Mindy Kaling, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lupita Nyong’o, Billy Porter and Sarah Paulson will all be reading and performing characters in the various stories from their homes.

The initiative is in conjunction with the Roald Dahl Story Company and will raise money for Partners in Health, a medical and social justice organization fighting COVID-19 and supporting public health systems in some of the most vulnerable communities around the world.

Dahl’s daughter Ophelia is a founder of Partners in Health.

The read-along started on Monday (May 18, 2020) with James and the Giant Peach and was led by Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi.

The 10 episodes of James and the Giant Peach With Taika and Friends will be posted on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on the Roald Dahl YouTube channel

Waititi commented: “Being an adult child myself and having read James and the Giant Peach to my girls multiple times, I’m excited to be able to partner with my friends, the Dahl team and Partners in Health and retell this story to help those most in need right now.

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

Luke Kelly, managing director of the Roald Dahl Story Company, added: “Roald Dahl’s stories are about the power and importance of kindness — and as a business we believe in enacting that ethos. That’s why we support the critical work of charities such as Partners in Health who are working on the front line in the fight against COVID-19.

“We are so delighted to be able to support this retelling of James and the Giant Peach and not only bring a moment of joy and escapism to children and families at this very tough time — but also to raise vital funds for Partners in Health. We’re incredibly grateful and excited to have Taika and so many incredible stars taking part. We can’t wait for people to see what we’ve got in store — it’s going to be absolutely GIGANTIC fun.”

The first episode featured Waititi reading with Thor: Ragnarok star Chris Hemsworth, Liam Hemsworth and Nick Kroll. Streep and Cumberbatch are featured in the second instalment.

The Roald Dahl Story Company will match up to $1 million in donations, with other partners lined up for matching beyond that. Donate here

Ophelia Dahl commented: “We know from experience that the impact of this virus will be felt most by vulnerable communities around the world. But with more than three decades’ experience in community-based health care, including responses to epidemics and outbreaks such as Ebola, cholera and tuberculosis, we know how to fight this.

“And James and the Giant Peach With Taika and Friends will raise critical funds that will allow Partners in Health to invest in local health systems that deliver high-quality, dignified care to fight this disease. We’re so grateful to Taika Waititi and the Roald Dahl Story Company for pulling together this extraordinary initiative and amazing array of talent.

“It will undoubtedly help in the fight against the long-standing health inequities we see in many parts of the world. Thank you for your generosity.”

Watch the first episode below

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