DreamWorks Studios announced today that newcomer Ruby Barnhill has been cast as the young girl, Sophie, in Roald Dahl's beloved classic story, The BFG. Steven Spielberg will direct the film adaptation of the children's novel. Published in 1982, The BFG 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 "Big Friendly Giant."
The BFG will be 10-year-old Ruby Barnhill's first feature film role. She has been acting for two years and will appear in the upcoming BBC BAFTA award-winning children's drama "Four O'Clock Club." Ruby lives in Cheshire with her parents, younger sister and Tom the cat and is a member of her local youth theatre.
Said Ruby Barnhill:
"I feel incredibly lucky and I'm so happy. Sophie gets to go on this wonderful adventure and I'm so excited that I get to play her."
Said Steven Spielberg:
"After a lengthy search, I feel Roald Dahl himself would have found Ruby every bit as marvelous as we do. We have discovered a wonderful Sophie in Ruby Barnhill."
Luke Kelly, Managing Director of the Roald Dahl Literary Estate and Roald Dahl's grandson, said:
"The character of Sophie is one of the most endearing young heroes in Roald Dahl'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 'The BFG' proves an utterly magical adventure for her."
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.," 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.