After a lengthy search, Steven Spielberg has found the star of his upcoming Roald Dahl adaptation The BFG in British newcomer Ruby Barnhill.
The 10-year-old actress, who has never appeared in a feature film before but has a role on the upcoming BBC children’s series Four O’Clock Club, will take on the part of Sophie, a young orphan from London who is befriended by a Big Friendly Giant and whisked away to the magical Giant Country.
“After a lengthy search, I feel Roald Dahl himself would have found Ruby every bit as marvelous as we do,” said Spielberg in an official statement. “We have discovered a wonderful Sophie in Ruby Barnhill.”
Barnhill herself expressed enthusiasm at the opportunity to play Sophie, stating, “Sophie gets to go on this wonderful adventure and I’m so excited that I get to play her. I feel incredibly lucky and I’m so happy.”
Mark Rylance (The Other Boleyn Girl, Anonymous) will play the BFG in what’s sure to be an effects-heavy performance. Other roles have yet to be cast, but E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial scribe Melissa Mathison is penning the script, with production set to kick off early next year.
This will be the first live-action adaptation of Dahl’s 1982 classic. The BFG was previously turned into a well-received animated film in 1989, but no other adaptations have ever gotten off the ground. Spielberg certainly seems like an exciting choice to introduce The BFG to a new generation, and one can only hope that, provided this take delivers on its promise, we’ll be seeing a rash of new Dahl films. With such titles as The Twits, The Enormous Crocodile and George’s Marvellous Medicine still in need of adaptations, there’s plenty for Hollywood to pilfer.
The BFG will arrive on July 1st, 2016.