DreamWorks Studios announced today that three-time Tony Award winner and two-time Olivier Award winner Mark Rylance has been cast as the title character in The BFG. Steven Spielberg will direct the adaptation of Roald Dahl's beloved classic children's novel. Published in 1982, The BFG tells the tale of a young girl, the Queen of England and a benevolent giant known as The BFG, who set out on an adventure to capture the evil, man-eating giants who have been invading the human world.
Here's what director Steven Spielberg had to say about the casting in a statement.
"As I witnessed on stage, Mark Rylance is a transformational actor. I am excited and thrilled that Mark will be making this journey with us to Giant Country. Everything about his career so far is about making the courageous choice and I'm honored he has chosen The BFG as his next big screen performance."
"We are ecstatic at this choice. Mark is incredibly talented, one of the great British actors working today. I've had the privilege of seeing Mark perform, and the thought of watching him transform into 'the only nice and jumbly Giant in Giant Country' is, as The BFG himself might say, absolutely phizz-whizzing."
Mark Rylance is currently working with Steven Spielberg on the Untitled Cold War Thriller, which stars Tom Hanks. His other upcoming projects include The Gunman, Days and Nights and the lead role in the much-anticipated BBC adaptation of Wolf Hall. Rylance's three Tony Awards were for his roles in Boeing Boeing, Jerusalem and Twelfth Night. He earned his two Olivier Awards for his roles in Much Ado About Nothing and Jerusalem. He has appeared in such films as The Other Boleyn Girl and Angels and Insects. Rylance is represented by Hamilton Hodell and Peikoff Mahan Law Office.
DreamWorks acquired the rights to the book in 2010 after Kathleen Kennedy brought it to the company. Melissa Mathison, who last teamed with Spielberg and Kennedy on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, has written the screenplay. Spielberg, Frank Marshall and Sam Mercer will produce while Kennedy, John Madden and Michael Siegel are on board as Executive Producers. 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. 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. DreamWorks' partner, Reliance, will distribute the film in India.