Steven Spielberg to Direct Roald Dahl Adaptation ‘The BFG’ for 2016 Release

Published 12 months ago by

bfg dahl movie spielberg Steven Spielberg to Direct Roald Dahl Adaptation The BFG for 2016 Release

Filmmaker Steven Spielberg is famous for his block-busting, but he’s made a habit of shooting prestigious dramas back-to-back with crowd-pleasing tentpoles; beginning with Schindler’s List and Jurassic Park in 1993, Spielberg did it again as recently as 2011, with War Horse and The Adventures of Tintin. While the director has been circling a handful of high-minded historical motion pictures of late, these past couple weeks it’s seemed as though his next trick would be to move ahead with production on his delayed apocalyptic sci-fi thriller, fittingly titled Robopocalypse.

However, in a surprise twist, the news has now emerged that Spielberg’s next big-budget venture will be a live-action adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel The BFG. Truth be told, this news isn’t completely shocking, as the adapted script for the project is written by Melissa Mathison, who also wrote Spielberg’s beloved boy-meets-alien film E.T. over thirty years ago. Matison was formally hired to work on the BFG screenplay back in 2011, so the script ought to be all but ready to go by now; good news too, since Spielberg is, by all accounts, eager to get back in the director’s chair.

He’s so eager, in fact, that The BFG might not be the next film that Spielberg directs. According to the report by THR, Spielberg is “officially committing” to the Dahl adaptation, with a 2015 start date in mind to make a 2016 release date. That leaves room in Spielberg’s work schedule for him to work on a smaller-scale movie first, before he jumps right into principal photography on BFG – meaning, we could have yet another case on our hands, where Spielberg releases two films of a very different color within close proximity of one another.

Development is underway on two historical drama scripts – The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara by Tony Kushner (Lincoln) and Montezuma by Steve Zaillian (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) – for Spielberg to direct, though last we heard neither one is done. Earlier this week, THR reported that Spielberg intends to direct a film about the true-story of James Donovan, an American attorney who negotiated the release of a downed U-2 spy plane pilot during the Cold War; that script by Matt Charman (Oakfield) is ready to go, with a leading man attached in Tom Hanks (who previously starred in Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan, Catch Me If You Can, and The Terminal). Hence, Spielberg could make that movie, then jump right into filming BFG.

spielberg hanks cold war movie Steven Spielberg to Direct Roald Dahl Adaptation The BFG for 2016 Release

Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks filming ‘Saving Private Ryan’

Dahl’s The BFG – previously adapted as an animated feature back in 1989 – tells the story of young orphan Sophie, who is whisked away one night by the Big Friendly Giant (BFG for short): a kind, jolly giant, whose job is to deliver pleasant dreams to children, even though he hales from a faraway land populated by larger, blood-thirsty giants.

It’s the sort of whimsical, yet dark, fantasy adventure that lies in Spielberg’s wheelhouse and would play to his strength as a director who’s known for getting strong performances from child actors; that the protagonist in BFG is a young girl, rather than a young boy like in E.T. or Spielberg’s Empire of the Sun, makes the film all the more intriguing, as a slight change of pace for Spielberg.┬áMovies based on Dahl books can be mixed in quality, though a BFG film by Spielberg could stand out as one of the better ones – even if the director plays up the idea of the BFG becoming a good father-figure to Sophie (… which he probably will, given his habit of exploring daddy issues).

I’ve already thrown in my vote for Oscar-nominee James Cromwell (American Horror Story: Asylum) to play the Big Friendly Giant in a live-action film, based on his looks and his talents as a character actor. Feel fee to pitch your own dream casting for the title character (and/or Sophie), in the comments section.


We’ll keep you posted on news concerning The BFG and other developing Spielberg projects.

Source: THR (link 1) (link 2)

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    • Exactly. There is only one BFG… and that’s the Big F***ing Gun! :D

  1. BFG??
    As an avid reader of Roald Dahl’s works, IMO there are many other better books to adapt for the screen.
    Charlie and the Chocolate factory is obviously the best choice but has been done twice.
    Still, they could do a Matilda, The Witches, or Danny the Champion of the World again.
    These are better stories than BFG.

    Or if you wanted a more adult story, Henry Sugar. This is one of the best works, about a British millionaire who obtains psychic powers and uses them to beat card games in casinos.

    • I’ve actually been wanting an adaptation of “Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator”

      • I’m waiting for “Susan and the glass ceiling”

      • You’lll be waiting till the end of time then, Dahl hated the charlie and the choclate factory so much he made it so that the rights to CGGE so that it could never be turned into a movie

        • To clarify, he hated the Gene Wilder movie “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” so much that he forbade the sequel story from ever being made.

  2. BFG? Big Fat Girl?

    Big Fat Giant?

    WTF is BFG

    • BFG: Stands for “Big Friendly Giant”

  3. Oh man, I don’t know what to think of this because as a child, one of my favourite movies was that 1989 animated adaption of The BFG starring Sir David Jason as the voice of the BFG himself (when I finally read the book in the mid 90s, I could only ever hear Jason’s voice in my head, that’s how much of an impact it made on me).

    Sure, they changed it so that Sophie traveled in the BFG’s shirt pocket instead of inside his ear but still, I highly recommend people here watch it. That song about whizz-popping….

    This is one of those times where I’m curious how a live action version can work (I only ever saw rehearsals for a stage version that featured a mix of puppets and real actors, with an actress playing Sophie alongside a giant BFG puppet as well as voicing the Sophie puppet when it appeared alongside an actor who played the titular character) but at the same time, I’m worried that it won’t work as well as the animated version.

    I guess this is how US audiences felt when they first heard about the Trasnformers movie being made since that was a big part of their childhood.

    Side note, I saw that animated version so many times, I actually wore out the VHS tape (it jumps at one specific part near the end) and could recite it word for word.

    Good call on James Cromwell. I could honestly see Olivia Cooke as Sophie, maybe bring Dame Helen Mirren back to play Queen Elizabeth II too? Andy Serkis is a must to play The Fleshlumpeater or The Bloodbottler (hopefully the former because he could pull that off but I can also imagine Andy’s raspy tones saying The Bloodbottler’s line “crunch ‘is bones up, yeeeah” as he trashes The BFG’s home).

  4. Very cool. I really liked that book as a kid. Hopefully it won’t be a “gritty reimagining”

  5. I would really like to audition for Sophie, I’m 14 but I look younger, does anyone know where I might be able to audition?

  6. We nominate Ella hoey from liverpool theatre school. She went for an audition for the role of Sophie on the 25th October 2014. She is perfectly suited by looks and acting talent.

  7. We would like to nominate Eve Niblock (Liverpool Theatre School) auditioned 25th October 2014 along with her friend Ella. Both girls are talented, bright and very capable of such a wonderful part. Wish them both the best of luck.

  8. I have been put forward for a audition for the part of Sopie. Because of that I have been told some of her cha characteristics, one if them is a tomboy.. which isn’t really how I’d imagine her but you can’t change the script.

  9. I have been put forward for a audition for the part of Sopie. Because of that I have been told some of her cha characteristics, one if them is a tomboy.. which isn’t really how I’d imagine her but that’s what life’s like I guess.