Back in 1982, British author Roald Dahl wrote a children’s book about a 24-foot-tall being with incredible speed and hearing abilities. Know as The Big Friendly Giant, the affable behemoth would spend his days gathering and distributing pleasant dreams to kids. Despite being a great success, the only screen adaption since its release was a 1989 animation made for British TV. Meanwhile stories like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were getting made and remade, whilst The BFG couldn’t make it out of pre-production.
Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy began development on a big screen adaptation of The BFG in 1991 with Paramount, but just couldn’t seem to get it off the ground. Scripts came and went over the next decade, with the late Robin Williams in mind to star at one point. Yet it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that a screenplay by the late Melissa Mathison (The Black Stallion, E.T.) finally got greenlit by Dreamworks, Disney and Amblin Entertainment – the production company of Steven Spielberg, who also directed the movie.
The BFG stars Oscar-winner Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) in the title role and newcomer Ruby Barnhill as Sophie, the British orphan who befriends the giant. The story is set in motion when The BFG takes Sophie away one night to Giant Country, before the two decide to work together and defeat the vicious man-eating giants that also inhabit that realm. Disney has previously released a short teaser for the film – one that focuses on Sophie at her London orphanage, as she spots the elusive BFG one night – but now the first full trailer for the movie has been released online. Give it a watch, above.
The BFG trailer begins with a Big Ben-ified Walt Disney logo, to emphasise the London-based setting, before briefly recapping what we saw in the teaser trailer of Sophie considering ‘the witching hour’ – a time when monsters, witches and demons roam the night. She’s then suddenly whisked away by the giant who flees, dressed in a cloak and clutching a dream horn, with her back to Giant Country. We’re then treated to some great special effects shots of the BFG’s home as he slices up a ‘snozzcumber’ – a foul smelling vegetable – with a large meat cleaver. Shots of the magical dream country follow, along with teasers of Rylance’s full look as he gathers them. Finally we get a full view of his mo-caped face, one that appears very faithful to Quentin Blake’s illustrations in the book, without losing the actor’s facial resemblance. And lastly, we meet the threat: the man-eating giants – ones whom, it soon becomes apparent, are a lot bigger than their vegetarian, friendly counterpart.
From the John Williams opening, and seeing the beautiful visuals by cinematographer Janusz Kaminski, to the first glimpses of The BFG himself, it’s clear that Spielberg and co. have been working hard to make this a loyal big screen adaption of the classic children’s tale. What with their obvious track record in family fantasy adventures, Spielberg and Disney are looking to make an excellent team. Then there’s Mark Rylance, fresh from his Oscar-win for Bridge of Spies which he also worked on with Spielberg, who, from what little we’ve just seen, looks very well cast in look and vocals for the first live action portrayal of the giant. Whilst it looks and sounds great from what we’ve seen, it’ll be interesting to see if the movie pulls through as family classic like E.T. or Jurassic Park, and if it’ll be as well-received – not to mention enduring – as other Dahl adaptations like Matilda and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
The BFG opens in U.S. theaters on July 1st, 2016.
Source: Walt Disney Studios