Disney announced Monday that it will co-produce and co-finance Steven Spielberg’s upcoming film adaptation of “The BFG,” making it the first time that the renowned director will sit at the helm of a Disney-branded movie.
Spielberg has worked with Disney a number of times in the past, but only as a producer.
“It is a special joy to be in the director’s chair as we start ‘The BFG,’ alongside my long-time friends and film collaborators Kathy Kennedy, who introduced me to this project, Frank Marshall and Melissa Mathison,” Spielberg said in a statement. “Together with them and Disney, there are many reasons why I am so excited about this joint venture.”
The film is based on the Roald Dahl’s popular children’s book of the same name. The story follows the friendship that develops between a young girl named Sophie and a kind giant known as the BFG (Big Friendly Giant), as they set out to capture a group of evil, man-eating giants that terrorize the human world.
Mark Rylance and Ruby Barnhill have been cast to play the BFG and Sophie, respectively. Penelope Wilton will play the Queen of England, and Rebecca Hall will step into the role as the Queen’s maid.
In addition to directing, Spielberg will produce the film alongside Marshall and Sam Mercer. Mathison, who last worked with Spielberg on E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” will write the script, while Kennedy, John Madden, Michael Siegel and Kristie Macosko Krieger executive produce.
The project is described as a Disney/Amblin/Reliance production in association with Walden Media.
“The BFG” is slated for a U.S. release on July 1, 2016.
Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images