Actors Cate Blanchett (not Upton), Sarah Paulson, Eddie Redmayne, Ruth Wilson and Kumail Nanjiani join director Taika Waititi for a fun read-a-long of the book James and the Giant Peach.

Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

If you’ve ever wanted Thor, Doctor Strange or Valkyrie to personally read to you a classic children’s book during lockdown, you’re in luck. 

Thor: Love and Thunder director Taika Waititi is teaming up with plenty of well-known actors, comedians and celebrities to read James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl in a new YouTube series called James and the Giant Peach with Taika and Friends for charity.

The famous folks involved in the new webseries include Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Hemsworth, Liam Hemsworth, Mindy Kaling, Nick Kroll, Kumail Nanjiani, Lupita Nyong’o, Sarah Paulson, Eddie Redmayne, Ryan Reynolds, Meryl Streep, Tessa Thompson, Olivia Wilde, Ruth Wilson, Billy Porter, Ben Schwartz, Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Cullum, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Roman Griffin Davis, Cara Delevingne, Cynthia Erivo, Beanie Feldstein, Josh Gad, and Archie Yates.

James and the Giant Peach with Taika and Friends will be asking for donations to help raise money for Partners In Health. The Roald Dahl Story Company and their partners will be matching every single donation.

“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 re-tell this story to help those most in need right now,” Waititi said in a statement on Monday. “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.”

The first two episodes are already live. Episode one features Taika, Kroll, Liam and Chris Hemsworth, while episode two stars Taika, Cumberbatch and Streep. 

These episodes are a blast to watch, not just because these award-winning actors are really good at the reading book in an entertaining way, but their constant joking around with each other makes you feel like you’re part of a hilarious Zoom video conference call

New episodes will go live every Monday, Wednesday, Friday. The series will consist of ten episodes in total. 



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