The Truth About Mara Wilson's Relationship With Danny DeVito

In 1996, Mara Wilson captivated audiences with her portrayal of the titular character in the beloved family film "Matilda." In the movie, which is adapted from British writer Roald Dahl's 1988 book of the same name, the little girl is a certified genius who also happens to have telekinetic powers. Danny DeVito directed and starred in the mid-90s classic, casting Wilson in the lead role as a now 6-year-old Matilda who comes to harness her intelligence and powers under the care of the wonderful Miss Honey, played by Embeth Davidtz.

For Wilson, the film came at a hard time in her life. Her mom, Suzie Wilson, had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite this, Suzie was integral to her daughter working on "Matilda" and guided the young Wilson for five months of shooting. The "Matilda" set became a safe haven for the mother and daughter team, with the cast and crew making sure both of them were comfortable and that any thoughts about cancer were at the back of their minds. One man in particular greatly impacted a young Wilson — DeVito himself.

Danny DeVito and his wife Rhea Perlman would often look after Mara Wilson

In a 2021 interview with Entertainment Tonight, Mara Wilson recalled how she "immediately felt a connection" with Danny DeVito and that they "just understood each other." Reacting to an interview with her younger self, Wilson remarked that her "Matilda" co-star and director would give her a hug every single day before filming, too. "I really did feel like he was my favorite uncle," she said. 

At one point, DeVito and his wife, Rhea Perlman (who also starred in the film), took care of Wilson while her mom was at the hospital, per People. As she explained to ET, they often took her to see plays or invited her over to their house to watch movies or just relax, which helped keep the youngster's mind off everything else that was going on in her life. 

During a chat with Parade, Wilson also credited their love and support for helping her come to terms with the extent of her mom's illness. "I remember feeling anxious when the movie wrapped, and it was really hard to go back to normal and dealing with my mom's sickness," she explained. "I definitely feel like having that family there, and having people willing to take care of us and help us out, made it easier."

Danny DeVito dedicated the final cut of Matilda to Mara Wilson's mom

Sadly, Mara Wilson's mom passed away in April 1996, just a few months before the film's release. However, Danny DeVito made sure that Suzie Wilson was able to see her daughter as the magical Matilda by showing her an early cut of the movie while she was in the hospital. As the actor explained in her memoir, "Where Am I Now?" she was initially devastated that her mom wasn't able to see the film. 

But that was before DeVito revealed that he had shown it to Suzie, which he informed his young co-star about a few years after her passing. The director also made sure to dedicate the film to Wilson's mom, which the actor remains extremely thankful for. "I felt so glad when I saw that in the credits, and I still feel happy when I see that now," she told Entertainment Tonight. "I'm so glad they did that."

Mara Wilson and Danny DeVito want to bring Matilda to life in a new way

While speaking with The Messenger, in October 2023, Danny DeVito teased an exciting reunion for some of the cast of "Matilda." According to the "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" star, he and Mara Wilson were just two of the actors slated to do a "'Matilda in Concert" show, where audiences essentially watch the movie while the score is played live. The event sadly got bumped due to the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike.

"Mara and I were planning to perform 'Matilda' live with the New Jersey Philharmonic Orchestra just before the strike hit," DeVito confirmed. He clarified that the event couldn't go ahead during the strike, "Because it would be seen as a promotion for a movie." The "Batman Returns" star expressed a desire to still make the event happen post-strike regardless. It ended in November 2023, and the "Matilda" concert was rescheduled for March 2024. 

According to a statement on the New Jersey Symphony's website, David Newman (who composed the film's score) will lead the symphony while DeVito narrates the movie. Wilson is also set to be a part of the event, along with Rhea Perlman and Pam Ferris (who played the villainous Trunchbull). The fact that Wilson and DeVito are still collaborating over 25 years after the release of "Matilda" proves they continue to have a strong relationship.