"Matilda," the 1996 movie based off Roald Dahl's novel, celebrated its 25th anniversary Monday, and star Mara Wilson reflected on how the cast became like a second family to her.
The 34-year-old actress and author admitted that neither she nor castmates Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Pam Ferris and Embeth Davidtz had any idea how popular the film would become.
"I think we hoped that it would be a hit, and I think that Danny and everybody who wrote on it and worked on it hoped," Wilson told Entertainment Tonight. "We knew that there weren't a lot of movies like this."
"There weren't very many movies where intelligence is rewarded and resourcefulness is rewarded," she continued. "There also weren't that many movies about little girls and especially not little girls who had inner strength, so I think that we knew that we were doing something kind of special."
Wilson also opened up about the strong bond she formed with DeVito, saying she "immediately felt a connection with him."
Wilson's mother, Suzie, was battling breast cancer while the movie was being filmed and died four months before it premiered. The "Mrs. Doubtfire" star revealed how DeVito and Perlman helped her through the challenging time.
"Danny and Rhea would take me to the theater to see a play, or to the movies or to just hang out at their house, things like that that was all usually done when my mother was in the hospital," she recalled. "It really did keep me distracted, and it really did keep me happy."
"Matilda" was dedicated to Suzie, and Wilson expressed how much that gesture meant to her.
"I felt so glad when I saw that in the credits, and I still feel happy when I see that now," she revealed. "I'm so glad that they did that."