Bruce Bogtrotter was a pretty iconic character. Sure, Matilda had all the magic, but Bruce had something we all really need: Will power. The character of Bruce Bogtrotter was played by Jim Karz, a young boy who impressed Danny DeVito in his audition and then went on to make history.
The iconic Bruce scene we all know and love was the one where he was forced to eat an entire cake. While it sounds good in theory, it's a ridiculously enormous cake and takes him hours to finish. But you know what, he powers through and that's what matters.
In an in- depth interview, DeVito and Karz discussed what it was like to make the movie all those years ago.
It was the first audition Karz ever had, but DeVito said that "when the right person shows up, you know it. He was the right person."
Karz got to do his final audition with DeVito, who stood in for the role of the Trunchbull. DeVito explained that "He was perfect. He did everything I wanted." But for Karz, he was just excited to meet DeVito. He said "That was an extraordinary experience because I had never interacted with a celebrity like that before."
Karz had to eat a lot of cake. They filmed the scene with all hundreds of kids in the audience, all staring at Karz while he devoured the cake. DeVito said "They were all screaming and hollering. And boy! The outtakes are amazing too. There were some really disgusting [shots], with him pushing the cake with his face."
Not everyone enjoyed that scene. Mara Wilson, who played Matilda, found that scene a little bit tedious and long. She said "Oh my goodness. That scene took forever to film. Matilda was such a joy to film—most of the scenes just felt like a lot of fun. That one was not so much fun." she continued by explaining that " It was just hard for a lot of kids to sit down for a long time, as you can imagine. But at least we were all together, and at least we finally got to stand up and yell! It was always fun when there were a lot of kids on the set."
Karz said that the scene actually needed some prep, "[I had to] practice eating. But that came naturally. I was pretty good at eating."
We can all admit that the cake looked delicious right? Want to know where you can get one like it?
Despite what the Trunchbull said, there was no blood sweat or tears in that enormous chocoalte cake. DeVito revealed it was made by his friend, "We made that cake. My friend Kathleen is a chef. You know the Magnolia Bakery? It's that kind of cake. That's my favorite kind of cake. I don't like a cake that's not sweet. I like a cake that has sugar in it."
Karz remembers it well, saying that "There were a ton of cakes. They had a factory, like, pumping out the cakes. Seemed like every day there was a new cake on set. They had three or four ready to go if they needed. It seemed like there was a lot of cake always at the ready. I don't know how much I ate. It was definitely a lot."
Ironically Karz didn't like chocolate cake. The cinematographer Stefan Czapksy revealed how they made it through, "They had a spit bucket for him. It worked for the scene because it was kind of like a child torture scene—to force him to eat chocolate cake."
Mara Wilson felt bad for Karz, and asked how he felt about cake after they finished the scene, she said "I asked him at the end of it if he still liked chocolate. He got this thousand-yard stare and said, "I'm sick of it."
Luckily Karz has moved on from the experience, saying that "It's not like it scarred me for life. I still enjoy cake."
He remembered the worst part about the scene, "The hardest thing was coming to set every day and getting the chocolate painted onto my face the way it was painted the day before. And wearing that crusty shirt every day. That was probably the worst, as far as I can remember."
After seeing himself on a movie screen Karz realized that he was going to switch up his plans. "It made me more popular in general, just because I was in a movie.... [But] it kind of motivated me to want to have more of a normal life. I guess I wanted to be recognized for something more meaningful."
He now is a med student who is training to be a doctor! Bruce Bogtrotter is all grown up, and according to DeVito, "Jimmy's looking amazing. He's grown into a fine young man. He was a little chub-chub when I knew him. Now he's a strapping young gentleman! And a doc-tah!"