Editing Scripts

By clicking on each page you will see how this Wormwood scene changed and developed from the first draft in 2007 to the last draft in 2012. The green indicates new text added in and the red is deleted text. Scroll down to see the full scene.

Dennis' Notes   Draft 1   Draft 2   Draft 3   Final Script

Matilda the Musical

  1. Draft 1 - 2007 Draft 2 - 2010Draft 3 - 2012Final Script

  2. MR Wormwood bursts in, pushing past Matilda. The Wormwood’s living room. Mr Wormwood in the hall, on the phone, alone.

  3. Mr Wormw:

    Yes, sir. That’s right, sir. One hundred and fifty five brand new luxury cars, sir. (listens) ‘Are they good runners’? Let’s put it this way… you wouldn’t beat them in a race. (laughs. Silence form the other end. He stops laughing, immediately) No, sir, yes, sir, they are good runners sir, yes, sir, indeed, sir. (beat) So, erm... how much exactly…?

  4. Suddenly there is a scream. He panics, drops the phone, runs into the living room. To see Mrs Wormwood (the source of the scream) standing horrified, staring at Matilda, who sits reading a book.

  5. Mrs Wormw:

    Harry!

  6. Mr Wormw:

    Hang on

  7. Mrs Wormw:

    She’s doing it again! Five years old and she’s reading That’s not normal for a five year old.. Books, if you don’t mind. That’s not normal – the child is clearly anI think she might be an idiot.

  8. Matilda:

    Listen to this – ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was an age of wisdom –’

  9. Her mother screams, covers her ears.

  10. Mr Wormw:

    Stop scaring your mother with that book, boy!

  11. Matilda:

    I’m a girl.

  12. Mrs Wormw:

    And she keeps trying to tell me stories, Harry. Stories? Who wants stories? I tell you it’s not normal for a girl to be all… thinking.

  13. Mr Wormw:

    What the flaming hell is that?

  14. Matilda:

    It’s a book. It’s by Charles Dickens.

  15. Mr Wormw:

    Who?

  16. Matilda:

    Charles Dickens. He’s very clever.

  17. Mr Wormw:

    Don’t be so stupid, boy

  18. Matilda:

    I’m a girl

  19. Mr Wormw:

    Don’t be thick! If he’s was so clever he’d be why isn’t he making television programmes? It’s a shame you haven’t got some of your old man’s brains. All I can say is thank god Michael’s inherited some of the family grey matter of his father’s brains, eh boy son?

  20. Michael:

    (gives an imbecilic, brainless laugh) Brains… Huh?

  21. Mr Wormw:

    Telly is better than books… because its got ee-lec-tricity.

  22. Mr Wormw:

    (into the phone) I’m gunna call you straight back. (hangs up, turning to his wife)Would you put a sock in it please shut up! I’m trying to pull off the biggest deal of my life and I gotta have to listen to this?

  23. Mrs Wormw:

    And she keeps trying to tell me stories, Harry. Stories? Who wants stories? I tell you it’s not normal for a girl to be all… thinking.

  24. She is shocked, but he persists.

  25. Mr Wormw:

    It’s your fault; you spend us into trouble and you expect me to get us out. What am I, a flaming escapologist?

  26. Mrs Wormw:

    Escapologist he says! What about me then? I’ve got a whole house to look after – dinners don’t microwave themselves you know! And I’ve got my dance lessons with Rudolpho. If you’re an escapologist I must be an acrobat to balance that lot – the world’s greatest acrobat. (storming off) I am off to bleach my roots practise my Boleroand I shan’t be talking to you for the rest of the evening, you… horrid little man!

  27. Matilda:

    What deal is that?

  28. Mr Wormw:

    (trying to stop her) Oh, no sugarplum, I’m sorry, I was only joking! (but it does not work) I’m, I’m under a lot of stress… It’s the brat, he makes my brain feel funny… I think I ate a dodgy kidney for lunch, I... (But nothing works)
    But
    I’m going to make us rich!

  29. Mrs Wormw:

    (stops, intrigued) How rich?

  30. Mr Wormw:

    Very rich. (looks around, leans in) Russian businessmen. Very, very stupid. Your genius husband is going to sell them one hundred and fifty five knackered old bangers as… brand new luxury cars! I’m going to use my secret technique.

  31. Matilda:

    What’s your secret technique?

  32. Mr Wormw:

    Never you mind, nosey pants. Listen to the idiot! It’s a secret, that’s why it’s called a ‘secret technique’. If I told you that the secret of making an old car run like a new one was to mix sawdust with the oil, I’d be some kind of great, big, stupid, think-headed, twit-brain, wouldn’t I?and if you think that I’m going to tell you that I’m going to buy one hundred and fifty five rusty old bangers and sell them as brand new luxury cars to a bunch of Russians, you’ve got another think coming

  33. Matilda:

    But won’t they know they’re old bangers?

  34. Mr Wormw:

    Not with my secret technique. But it’s secret.

  35. Matilda:

    Wow. I bet it’s really clever.

  36. Mr Wormw:

    Of course it’s really clever. Making a fortune out of sawdust? That’s about the cleverest thing that’s ever been thought of.

  37. Matilda:

    Out of sawdust? How?

  38. Mr Wormw:

    Didn’t I tell you that I wasn’t going to say? You think I’m an idiot?

  39. Matilda:

    Oh no, I just don’t think it’s possible to make money out of sawdust.

  40. Mr Wormw:

    Well, that’s where you’re wrong, you ignorant twit. Because if you’re clever enough – like I am – you take an old banger with the gears all worn out, you mix a little sawdust with the oil and it runs as sweet as a nut. But you could torture me and I wouldn’t tell you that.

  41. Matilda:

    But how long will it run like that?

  42. Mr Wormw:

    Long enough for them to get on the ferry back to Moscow.

  43. Matilda:

    But that’s dishonestnot fair!

  44. Mr Wormw:

    No-one ever got rich by being honest.

  45. Matilda:

    The cars will break down,But what about the Russians?

  46. Mr Wormw:

    Fair? Listen to the boy! What’s fair got to do with anything? Fair doesn’t put the dinner on the table that you eat, boy! Serves them right. All Russians are ignorant.

  47. Matilda:

    I don’t think that’s true.

  48. Mr Wormw:

    Course it is! Only people more ignorant than Russians are the French.

  49. Matilda:

    I don’t think the French are ignorant and I don’t think it’s very nice calling people names.

  50. Matilda:

    I’m a girl

  51. Mrs Wormw:

    Fair does not get you anywhere, you thickheaded twitbrain! All I can say is thank god heavens Michael’s has inherited some of his father’s brains, eh son? Hmm. Well, I shall take the money when you earn it. And I shall spend it. But I shan’t enjoy it because of the despicable way in which you have spoken to me tonight. I want you to think on what you’ve done.

  52. She leaves. Beat. He rounds on Matilda.

  53. Mr Wormw:

    This is your fault! With your stupid books and your stupid reading!

  54. Matilda:

    What? But I didn’t do anything! That’s not right!

  55. Mr Wormw:

    Right! Right! Who do you think you are? The Archbishop of flaming Canterbury? I tell you something; you’re off to school in a few days time and you won’t be getting ‘right’ there. Oh no. I know the headmistress, Agatha Trunchbull – and I’ve told her all about you and your thinking and your stories and your smarty-pants ideas. (coming closer) Big strong scary woman she is, used to compete in the Olympics, throwing the hammer. Imagine what she’s going to do to a horrible, squeaky little goblin like you, boy.

  56. Matilda:

    I’m… I’m a girl…

  57. Beat. Mr and Mrs Wormwood look at her.

  58. Mr & Mrs Wormw:

    Ooooo/oooo -er!

  59. Mr Wormw:

    Excuse me, your / majesty!

  60. Mrs Wormw:

    The state of it!

  61. Mr Wormw:

    Well, if you like the French so much…
    Pauses, because he knows the next line’s going to be funny.
    …why don’t you go and kiss one!

  62. Mr and Mrs Wormwood burst into laughter at the hilarity of this joke, Michael joins in not quite understanding. The Wormwoods are nearly crying with laughter. They notice that Matilda is silent. They stop laughing.

  63. Mr Wormw:

    What the matter with you? Why aren’t you laughing?

  64. Matilda:

    I don’t think it’s nice laughing at people. I don’t think its nice calling people ignorant. And I don’t think its nice cheating people.

  65. Pause.

  66. Mr Wormw:

    Well you can take yourself off to bed without any supper!

  67. Mrs Wormw:

    The cheek of it, the dirty little madam!

  68. Mr Wormw:

    Now get off to bed you little…You filthy little… bookworm!

  69. Matilda trudges to her room.

  70. Michael:

    Mi-chael

Re-writing

Writing is all about rewriting. Everything you’ve ever seen, read, watched or probably even listened to, none of that stuff came out the way it is now. 

Generally someone writes something, gets bits of it wrong, bits of it right and then does another draft. What I hate about this is that it means there’s always more work to do once you’ve finished your first draft. But what I love about it is that it means your first draft doesn’t have to be perfect.

Every time you write it should never be about writing brilliantly or getting things right, it should always be about doing your best at that moment – it’s almost impossible to write brilliantly, but it is possible to do your best. 

Then you look at it, see what you’ve got and do your best all over again. This way you slowly get to something that feels stronger. It’s not always easy, sometimes you take steps backwards as well as forwards, but the trick is not to be disheartened by this – it’s a natural part of the process, every writer feels it, whether its you, me, Roald Dahl or Shakespeare. 

It’s important that you’re allowed to get things a little bit wrong as well as get them right – I mean you don’t have to do things wrong, but sometimes it just happens. But if you only ever do one draft you won’t have the time for this. And the nice thing about redrafting is you’ve always got early drafts, so if they’re better you can always go back to them.

I think doing four or five drafts is a good idea, but even two or three is a good start. What you need to try and do is to look at your first draft as if it had been written by someone else. This really isn’t easy so often what I often do is take it away to a place where I haven’t been working and read it there. 

Then I give it a little time, have a think about it and start it again. I often start a second draft with a whole new piece of paper or document – this way I’m not tempted to just ‘tinker’ with it, to just make small adjustments that don’t really alter it much.

I feel that if anything from the first draft is good it’ll stay in my mind and will call to me and asked to be put in the new draft. So a second might look like me writing bits, then drawing a big circle around a chunk, labeling it (‘insert A’ or something) and putting a note into the new draft (something like ‘see insert A’) to tell me to use the bit from the old draft. But sometimes you just need to do small things and make small adjustments and then tinkering is fine. 

There are no rules to this process, but I would say the first two drafts might be about making big changes (if there has to be big changes, there’s no point in changing things for the sake of it) the next two or three might be about tinkering and adjusting things if all the big work is done – if it isn’t and you know it can be better then it’s worth continuing with the big work. 

You can write by hand and then type it up or you can write directly into a computer, either way is good and you should just choose the way that’s most comfortable for you.

Finally I find one of the most important things in writing is to remember to enjoy it. The process above can seem like a lot of work, but I try to remember that it’s not really work, it’s something I like, it’s me and my imagination and a bunch of things I can just make up.

When I enjoy it I tend to write better – when I think about all the work I have to do or put pressure on myself to be good, then it becomes difficult and often the things I am writing are not so good. I don’t know why it is that way, but it – fortunately fun seems to be important.