Ryan Reynolds Joins Taika Waititi To Read ‘James And The Giant Peach’ For Coronavirus Relief Fundraiser

Ryan Reynolds attends an event.
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The Roald Dahl Story Company continues its fundraiser for nonprofit Partners in Health on Monday, bringing together Ryan Reynolds and acclaimed filmmaker Taika Waititi to read an excerpt from the British author’s classic novel James and the Giant Peach, per E! News. This is the fifth episode in the series, one which joins Waititi with some of Hollywood’s most famous celebrities as they read through the novel. The money raised will go toward Partners in Health’s efforts to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in some of the most vulnerable parts of the world.

Celebrities including Mindy Kaling, Billy Porter, Chris Hemsworth, Sarah Paulson, Meryl Streep, and Nick Kroll are taking part in James and the Giant Peach with Taika & Friends. Along with raising money, the readings aim to provide entertainment for children and families currently dealing with being out of school — and stuck in their homes — during the coronavirus pandemic. New episodes premiere every Monday on the official Roald Dahl YouTube channel. Viewers are encouraged to donate, with even the smallest contributions appreciated.

“Any contribution helps save lives and end despair. $10 could buy a caregiver much needed PPE. $250 could buy an O2 cylinder. $12,000 can provide a ventilator that could save thousands of lives.”

So far the fundraiser has received more than $74,000 in donations, and the Roald Dahl foundation has pledged to match all donations up to $1 million.

In the clip shared exclusively with E! Online, it is revealed that the project has reached one of the most famous scenes in the book. Reynolds reads the monologue given by the Centipede soon after he meets the titular character. The Deadpool actor gives it his all as lists the food his character has consumed before tasting the giant peach.

“I’ve eaten fresh mudburgers, by the greatest cooks there are, scrambled eggs and stinkbug’s eggs and hornets stewed in tar. These foods are rare beyond compare—some are right out of reach; but there’s no doubt I’d go without. A million plates of each. For one small mite, one tiny bite of this FANTASTIC PEACH!”

Reynolds’ reading is supported by Waititi, who plays his guitar and echoes a hymn-like backing vocal as Reynolds’ Centipede testifies to his passion for the peach. There is no doubt that Reynolds took some cues from the 1996 film adaptation of James and the Giant Peach, with his Centipede sharing the same affectations as Richard Dreyfuss’ portrayal in the critically acclaimed children’s film.