‘Matilda’: The Actor Who Played Bruce Bogtrotter Actually Hated Chocolate Cake

The classic kids’ movie Matilda turns 25 years old in 2021, and for many people it’s as if no time has passed. The movie starred Danny DeVito and a young Mara Wilson and was based on the story of the same name by famed children’s author Roald Dahl.

Danny DeVito, Mara Wilson, and Rhea Perlman
Danny DeVito, Mara Wilson, and Rhea Perlman in ‘Matilda’ | Getty Images

‘Matilda’ was a beloved movie

One of the reasons Matilda has strong staying power is because of its story. Everyone loves an underdog who overcomes adversity, and the titular character was all that and more.

Mara Wilson starred as Matilda Wormwood, a 6-year-old girl who faces struggle at home and at school from her parents and teachers. But thanks to her special telekinetic abilities, she’s able to wreak havoc and reclaim her story.

Mara Wilson
Mara Wilson arrives at the Premiere of Lionsgate’s ‘Knives Out’ at Regency Village Theatre on November 14, 2019 in Westwood, California | Jerod Harris/Getty Images

The 1 ‘Matilda’ scene everyone remembers

Perhaps one of the most memorable scenes from Matilda doesn’t actually center around Matilda at all. One of her classmates, Bruce Bogtrotter (played by actor Jimmy Karz), is forced to eat a huge chocolate cake in front of the whole school.

The students at Crunchem Hall Elementary School face mistreatment and abuse by the cruel principal, Miss Trunchbull, played by Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban actor Pam Ferris. In the chocolate cake scene, the kids witness her cruelty firsthand. 

Miss Trunchbull punishes Bruce Bogtrotter by making him eat the cake even though he doesn’t want to. Just to spite her, Bogtrotter devours the entire cake — complete with fudgy frosting — as the students cheered him on.

Matilda cast
Danny DeVito, Mara Wilson, Brian Levinson, and Rhea Perlman in “Matilda” | Getty Images

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Bruce Bogtrotter hated chocolate cake in real life

In 2016, several Matilda cast members spoke to Thrillist and revealed many things about the making of the movie and what fans didn’t see on screen. Writer Robin Swicord admitted that the chocolate cake scene was a point of contention and almost got cut from the movie.

“There were times when, in the budgeting process particularly, [producers] were going, ‘Do we really need the Bruce Bogtrotter scene with the chocolate cake?’ Because it doesn’t move the story forward,” Swicord said. “But I really loved that scene because his superpower was that he could eat a lot of chocolate cake.” 

Unsurprisingly, it was a tough scene to film. Cinematographer Stefan Czapsky told Thrillist the cold, hard truth: “He hated chocolate cake.”

In the 2005 Matilda DVD documentary, DeVito confirmed that there was a lot of cake involved when filming the scene, and that it was a messy experience to film. 

“This is really gross, [but] I’m going to tell you anyway… We made him stuff his face, but then I would cut the camera [and] he would spit it out!” DeVito revealed, saying that if he had actually eaten all that cake it wouldn’t have been a pretty ending.

In total, Czapsky estimated “I think I shot 144 angles of him eating cake.”