LOS ANGELES, CA â€“Â DreamWorks Studios announced today that newcomer Ruby Barnhill has been cast as the young girl, Sophie, in Roald Dahlâ€™s beloved classic story, â€œThe BFG.â€Â Steven Spielberg will direct the film adaptation of the childrenâ€™s novel.Â Published in 1982, â€œThe BFGâ€ is the tale of a young London girl and the mysterious Giant who introduces her to the beauty and peril of Giant Country. Barnhill joins Mark Rylance who has been cast as the â€œBig Friendly Giant.â€
â€œThe BFGâ€ will be 10-year-old Ruby Barnhillâ€™s first feature film role.Â She has been acting for two years and will appear in the upcoming BBC BAFTA award-winning childrenâ€™s drama â€œFour Oâ€™Clock Club.â€Â Ruby lives in Cheshire with her parents, younger sister and Tom the cat and is a member of her local youth theatre.
â€œI feel incredibly lucky and Iâ€™m so happy,â€ said Ruby Barnhill.Â â€œSophie gets to go on this wonderful adventure and Iâ€™m so excited that I get to play her.â€
â€œAfter a lengthy search, I feel Roald Dahl himself would have found Ruby every bit as marvelous as we do,â€ said Steven Spielberg. Â â€œWe have discovered a wonderful Sophie in Ruby Barnhill.â€
Luke Kelly, Managing Director of the Roald Dahl Literary Estate andÂ Roald Dahl’s grandson, said, â€œThe character of Sophie is one of the most endearing young heroes in Roald Dahlâ€™s stories. She is as brave as she is curious and has an innate sense of wonder. Many congratulations to Ruby on landing the role. We hope that making â€˜The BFGâ€™ proves an utterly magical adventure for her.â€
DreamWorks acquired the rights to the book in 2010 after Kathleen Kennedy brought it to the company.Â Melissa Mathison, who last teamed with Spielberg and Kennedy on “E.T.,” has written the screenplay.Â Â Spielberg, Frank Marshall and Sam Mercer will produce while Kennedy, John Madden and Michael Siegel are on board as Executive Producers.Â Kristie Macosko Krieger and Adam Somner are Co-Producers.
Spielberg will begin production on “The BFG” in early 2015 and it will open in U.S. theaters on July 1, 2016.Â The Walt Disney Company is distributing the film in the U.S. and select international territories while Mister Smith Entertainment is handling distribution in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.Â DreamWorksâ€™Â partner, Reliance, will distribute the film in India.