Coronavirus: Taika Waititi leads Chris Hemsworths, Meryl Streep, Ryan Reynolds in reading Roald Dahl to fight COVID-19

Taika Waititi has joined forces with some "special friends" to read Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach to raise funds to fight COVID-19. 

The Kiwi filmmaker is hosting a 10-episode series streaming on YouTube, in which he hosts a star-studded cast in reading the classic children's tale. 

"When I say I'm going to be joined by 'friends', I think I just mean celebrities," Waititi says in the series trailer. 

He's not kidding - episode one features the Hemsworth brothers Chris and Liam performing on screen together for the first time, and the second instalment stars Meryl Streep and Benedict Cumberbatch. 

Other famous faces reading portions of the book from their homes include Cate Blanchett, Roman Griffin Davis, Cara Delevingne, Josh Gad, Mindy Kaling, Kumail Nanjiani, Lupita Nyong'o, Sarah Paulson, Eddie Redmayne, Ryan Reynolds, and Olivia Wilde. 

"Don't do your own accents, make an effort!" Waititi instructs in the clip. 

Waititi, who dubbed himself an "adult child" said he'd read James and the Giant Peach to his own children many times. 

"I'm excited to be able to partner with my friends, the Dahl team, and Partners in Health and retell this story to help those most in need right now," he said in a statement. 

"This wacky, wonderful tale is about resilience in children, triumph over adversity, and dealing with a sense of isolation, which couldn't be more relevant today." 

Audiences are encouraged to donate to Partners in Health, a health and social justice organisation fighting coronavirus with a focus on health systems in the most vulnerable communities around the world. 

Episode one and two are already available on the Roald Dahl HQ YouTube page, and the rest of the series will be released three times a week.