Meryl Streep to narrate Roald Dahl story for Covid-19 relief efforts

Actress Meryl Streep at TIFF Tribute Gala during the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival Day 5 at The Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto, Canada. (AFP pic)

Oscar-winning filmmaker Taika Waititi is partnering with the Roald Dahl Story Company to read the beloved children’s novel across ten instalments.

Waititi narrates Dahl’s classic “James and the Giant Peach” along with a host of international stars, all reading and performing characters in the children’s story from their respective homes.

Among them are Lupita Nyong’o, Mindy Kaling, Cate Blanchett, Ryan Reynolds and Cara Delevingne.

The Hemsworth brothers lend their voices to Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker in the first episode of the series, while Meryl Streep and Benedict Cumberbatch portray the evil sisters in the second.

The first two installments are both available to watch now, with remaining episodes to be released on the Roald Dahl YouTube channel every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

This star-studded reading of “James and the Giant Peach” is part of a campaign to raise funds for the global health non-profit Partners in Health, which is tackling the Covid-19 pandemic in some of the most vulnerable communities around the world.

The Roald Dahl Story Company has announced that it will match donations up to US$1 million to charities impacted by the global health crisis, such as the Roald Dahl Marvellous Children’s Charity in the UK.

“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 be more relevant today,” Waititi said of the initiative in a statement.

The New Zealand filmmaker has recently been announced as the writer, director and executive producer of two original Roald Dahl animated series for Netflix.

An original series will be based on the world of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” while the other will focus on the fictional characters of the Oompa-Loompas.