As production gets underway in Vancouver, The Walt Disney Studios announced it will co-produce and co-finance Steven Spielbergâ€™s â€œThe BFG.â€Â This marks the three-time Academy Award winnerâ€™s first time directing a Disney-branded movie.
PreviouslyÂ announced cast include three-time Tony Award winner MarkÂ RylanceÂ who will play the titular â€œBig Friendly Giantâ€ and newcomer Ruby Barnhill as Sophie. Â They are now joined byÂ BillÂ Hader,Â JemaineÂ Clement, Michael DavidÂ Adamthwaite, Daniel Bacon, Chris Gibbs, Adam Godley, Jonathan Holmes, Paul Moniz de SaÂ andÂ OlafurÂ Olaffson, allÂ cast as giants. Buckingham Palace has also found its residents with Penelope Wilton being cast as The Queen and Rebecca Hall as Mary, the Queenâ€™s maid.
“In more than 40 years of making movies, I have been on the producing end of a number of films for The Walt Disney Company, but never as a director,” said Steven Spielberg. Â “It is a special joy to be in the director’s chair as we start ‘The BFG,’ alongside my long-time friends and film collaborators Kathy Kennedy, who introduced me to this project, Frank Marshall and MelissaÂ Mathison. Â Together with them and Disney, there are many reasons why I am so excited about this joint venture.”
â€œWith Steven Spielberg at the helm, â€˜The BFGâ€™ will undoubtedly capture the minds of children and adults alike â€“ as Roald Dahlâ€™s original stories and many of Stevenâ€™s own films have done for decades,â€ said Alan Horn, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. â€œThe team at Disney has tremendous respect for the filmmakers, and weâ€™re thrilled to join with them to make what will be a spectacular picture.â€
â€œThis partnership speaks to the spirit of storytelling and the kinds of movies that we make here,â€ said Michael Wright, CEO of DreamWorks Studios. â€œOver the years, weÂ have enjoyed a fruitful collaboration, and we couldnâ€™t be more excited to be working with Disney in this expanded capacity on â€˜The BFG.â€™â€
â€œThe BFGâ€ is theÂ excitingÂ tale of a young London girl and the mysterious Giant who introduces her to the wondersÂ and perils of Giant Country. Â Based on theÂ belovedÂ novel by Roald Dahl, â€œThe BFGâ€ (Big Friendly Giant) was published in 1982Â and has beenÂ enchantingÂ readers of all agesÂ ever since.Â Â Dahlâ€™s books, which also include â€œCharlie and the Chocolate Factory,â€ â€œJames and the Giant Peach,â€ â€œMatildaâ€ and â€œFantastic Mr. Fox,â€ are currently available in 58 languages and have sold over 200 millionÂ copies worldwide.
Â Steven Spielberg will direct the film adaptation based on a script by MelissaÂ Mathison, who last teamed with Spielberg on â€œE.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.â€Â Â Spielberg, Frank Marshall and Sam Mercer will produce while Kathleen Kennedy, John Madden,Â Michael SiegelÂ and Kristie Macosko KriegerÂ are on board as executive producers.Â AdamÂ SomnerÂ is a co-producer.Â Â The Disney/Amblin/Reliance production in association with WaldenÂ MediaÂ will open in U.S. theaters on July 1, 2016, the year that coincides with the 100thanniversary of Roald Dahlâ€™s birth.Â The Walt Disney Studios is distributing the film in the U.S. and several international territories while Mister Smith Entertainment will oversee distribution in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.Â Reliance will distribute the film in India.
Disney and Walden Media previously produced â€œThe Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe,â€ â€œThe Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian,â€ and â€œBridge toÂ Terabithiaâ€ together.