There are so many movies I’m excited to see in 2016. Of those films, The BFG holds a special place in my heart. I’ve been a fan of Roald Dahl for as long as I can remember. The first official poster has just been reveled, joining the teaser trailer that was released in December.
Now I don’t usually assign homework. (Mostly because I’m pretty sure I’d be ignored if I tried.) That said, today is an exception. Go, read the book. You must. Trust me. Because if you’re not excited for July 1st, I’m pretty sure you will be once you finish.
The talents of three of the world’s greatest storytellers – Roald Dahl, Walt Disney and Steven Spielberg –finally unite to bring Dahl’s beloved classic “The BFG” to life. Directed by Spielberg, Disney’s “The BFG” tells the imaginative story of a young girl and the Giant who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country. “I think it was kind of genius of Roald Dahl to be able to empower the children. It was very, very brave of him to introduce that combination of darkness and light which was so much Disney’s original signature in a lot of their earlier works like in ‘Dumbo,’ ‘Fantasia,’ ‘Snow White’ and ‘Cinderella,’ and being able to do scary, but also be redemptive at the same time and teach a lesson, an enduring lesson, to everyone, it was a wonderful thing for Dahl to have done, and it was one of the things that attracted me to want to direct this Dahl book,” says Spielberg.
The BFG (Mark Rylance), while a giant himself, is a Big Friendly Giant and nothing like the other inhabitants of Giant Country. Standing 24-feet tall with enormous ears and a keen sense of smell, he is endearingly dim-witted and keeps to himself for the most part. Giants like Bloodbottler (Bill Hader) and Fleshlumpeater (Jemaine Clement) on the other hand, are twice as big and at least twice as scary and have been known to eat humans, while the BFG prefers Snozzcumber and Frobscottle. Upon her arrival in Giant Country, Sophie, a precocious 10-year-old girl from London, is initially frightened of the mysterious giant who has brought her to his cave, but soon comes to realize that the BFG is actually quite gentle and charming, and, having never met a giant before, has many questions. The BFG brings Sophie to Dream Country where he collects dreams and sends them to children, teaching her all about the magic and mystery of dreams.
Having both been on their own in the world up until now, their affection for one another quickly grows. But Sophie’s presence in Giant Country has attracted the unwanted attention of the other giants, who have become increasingly more bothersome. Says Spielberg, “It’s a story about friendship, it’s a story about loyalty and protecting your friends and it’s a story that shows that even a little girl can help a big giant solve his biggest problems.” Sophie and the BFG soon depart for London to see the Queen (Penelope Wilton) and warn her of the precarious giant situation, but they must first convince the Queen and her maid, Mary (Rebecca Hall), that giants do indeed exist. Together, they come up with a plan to get rid of the giants once and for all.
Directed by three-time Academy Award® winner Steven Spielberg (“Bridge of Spies,” “Schindler’s List,” ”Saving Private Ryan”) from a screenplay by Melissa Mathison (“E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,” “The Black Stallion”) based on the best-selling novel by Roald Dahl, “The BFG” stars three-time Tony Award® and two-time Olivier Award winner Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies,” “Wolf Hall”), newcomer Ruby Barnhill, Penelope Wilton (“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” “Downton Abbey”), Jemaine Clement (“Rio 2,” “The Flight of the Conchords”), Rebecca Hall (“The Gift,” “Iron Man 3”), Rafe Spall (“The Big Short,” “Prometheus”) and Bill Hader (“Inside Out,” “Trainwreck”). The film is produced by Spielberg, Frank Marshall (“Jurassic World,” “The Bourne Ultimatum”) and Sam Mercer (“Snow White and the Huntsman,” “The Sixth Sense”) with Kathleen Kennedy (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” “Lincoln”), John Madden (“The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel,” “Shakespeare in Love”), Kristie Macosko Krieger (“Bridge of Spies,” “Lincoln”), Michael Siegel (“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Rise of the Guardians”), Frank Smith and Naia Cucukov serving as executive producers.
Roald Dahl’s “The BFG” (Big Friendly Giant) was first published in 1982 and has been enchanting readers of all ages ever since. Dahl’s books, which also include “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “James and the Giant Peach” and “Matilda,” are currently available in 58 languages and have sold over 200 million copies worldwide. Originally created as a bedtime story, “The BFG” was Dahl’s own favorite of all his stories. “It was very important for us to be loyal to the language,” says Spielberg, “and the great writer Melissa Mathison, who also wrote ‘E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial,’ wrote “The BFG.”
“The BFG” opens in U.S. theaters on July 1, 2016, the year that marks the 100th anniversary of Dahl’s birth.