Netflix's The Twits Director, Writer, First Look, Plot, And More Info


The world is never a nice place in the stories of Roald Dahl. Across the beloved British author's vast body of literature, one will find works about abusive caretakers, sadistic authority figures, and horrible fantasy characters itching to do harm to children. Just as often, though, his tales center on courageous kids and kindly adults willing and able to stand up to these bad grownups and terrifying monsters. It's why Dahl's writing continues to resonate with younger generations, despite the ongoing struggle to reconcile the timeless messages of his novels and short stories with Dahl's many failings as a human being (or human "bean," as the BFG would say).

Having acquired the Roald Dahl Story Company back in 2021, Netflix has a financial motive for keeping Dahl's stories alive and well in the general public's memory. The streamer has already released a well-received film adaptation of the "Matilda" stage musical based on Dahl's book of the same name, and has entrusted "Fantastic Mr. Fox" filmmaker Wes Anderson with adapting several short stories from "The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More." Up next on the assembly line is "The Twits," an animated movie based on Dahl's 1979 book, which already has a first-look image (seen above). Here's everything we know about the film so far.

When does The Twits premiere?

"The Twits" is slated to premiere on Netflix at some unspecified date in 2025. Although it was announced in the midst of the joint Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) and Writers Guild of America (WGA) strikes, The Hollywood Reporter has heard the film's deals were put into place prior to the strikes. Likewise, the film itself is said to be covered under the Animation Guild contract.

Notably, the animation industry is facing its own reckoning at this juncture due to the way it systematically overburdens its employees, forcing them to work grueling schedules in order to meet unreasonable deadlines. Might an animation guild strike be imminent? We're certainly living in a moment where that's possible, as more and more artists across film and TV are taking steps to unionize and demand fair treatment from their bosses. Should that happen, it could ultimately impact when "The Twits" arrives.

What are the plot details of The Twits?

"The Twits," per the synopsis from Tudum, "follows Mr. and Mrs. Twit — who are the miserable owners of a dangerous amusement park — and their meteoric rise to power in their town. The Twits' takeover leads to an ongoing conflict between them, two children, and a community of magical animals who are determined to stop them." While the original story teaches children about the necessity of standing up to and fighting back against the terrible adults who run the world around them (the definitive theme of Dahl's work), it was partly inspired by something much more trivial: Dahl's dislike of beards.

Dahl's biographer, Michael Rosen, previously wrote about this while recounting his and his then young son Joe's first meeting with Dahl at a TV studio in 1980. Beckoning Joe over, Dahl called his father's beard "disgusting," adding, "It's probably got this morning's breakfast in it. And last night's dinner. And old bits of rubbish, any old stuff that he's come across. You might even find a bicycle wheel in it." One could never accuse Dahl of lacking for a darkly whimsical — and more than a touch mean-spirited — sense of humor.

Who is the director of The Twits?

Phil Johnston has signed on to direct "The Twits," having previously made his feature directing debut on Disney's Oscar-nominated animated sequel "Ralph Breaks the Internet." He issued a statement about his love of Dahl's original novel growing up:

Johnston also co-wrote Disney Animation's "Zootopia" and "Wreck-It Ralph," as well as the decidedly R-rated live-action comedies "The Brothers Grimsby" and "Cedar Rapids." One suspects "The Twits" and its sensibilities will exist around the nexus point between Johnston's family film work and his adult farces.

Who are the writers and producers of The Twits?

In addition to directing, Johnston is co-writing "The Twits" with Meg LeFauve. The latter has an extensive background in animation, having co-written Pixar Animation's "Inside Out," "The Good Dinosaur," and "Onward," as well as Netflix Animation and Cartoon Saloon's feature "My Father's Dragon." Johnston will also produce alongside Maggie Malone.

The animation on "The Twits" is being handled by Jellyfish Pictures, the British visual effects and animation company that oversaw the VFX for "Roald Dahl's Matilda the Musical" and provided "production services" on DreamWorks Animation's "The Boss Baby: Family Business" and "The Bad Guys." Judging by the first-look photo, the film will embrace a heightened aesthetic, with Mr. and Mrs. Twits having exaggerated features like the characters from a Henry Selick stop-motion animated feature (including the director's own Dahl adaptation, "James and the Giant Peach"). You can also spot the bits and pieces of gunk in Mr. Twit's beard — a small detail that would have no doubt won Dahl's wholehearted approval.

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