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Spielberg making Roald Dahl’s ‘BFG’

English girl cast as heroine in high-profile adaptation of beloved children’s book. Mark Rylance is the Big Friendly Giant.

Unless Fleshlumpeater, Bloodbottler, Gizzardgulper and Bonecruncher get wind of the project and hire a team of hackers to do serious cyber-mischief, there should be no problem when Steven Spielberg's adaptation of the beloved Roald Dahl children's book, The BFG, hits theaters in the summer of 2016. The story, about an orphan who befriends a Big Friendly Giant (thus the titular acronym), is one of Dahl's most popular. It was made into an animated feature (released in 1989) and has often been mounted as a stage play. Now, a movie -- with Spielberg set to start production early in the new year.

While casting for the aforementioned evil giants has not yet been announced, Tony-winner Mark Rylance gets the title role, and 10-year-old Ruby Barnhill has been pegged to play Sophie, the heroine.  Spielberg's track record with unknown kid actors is pretty good:  Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore in E.T., Christian Bale in Empire of the Sun – all have gone on to decent (ha!) Hollywood careers. Dahl, whose granddaughter Sophie was the inspiration for the girl in The BFG, died in 1990, but he (and his estate) have had an amazing run with film adaptations: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) and Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971),  Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), James and the Giant Peach and Matilda (both 1996) and The Witches (1990), not to mention a slew of adult stories and novels turned into TV and film projects. Dahl also wrote the screenplays for two Ian Fleming titles: the family-friendly flying car tale, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the Sean Connery 007 entry, You Only Live Twice.