The BFG: British Newcomer Announced As Lead In Steven Spielberg's Adaptation (Exclusive)

Tom Butler - do not use
Senior UK Writer


10-year-old actress Ruby Barnhill is about to have her life turned upside down as she’s been announced in the lead role in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of Roald Dahl’s ‘The BFG’.

The young British actress will play Sophie, the young orphan befriended by a Big Friendly Giant, who was inspired by Dahl’s real-life granddaughter Sophie Dahl.

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“After a lengthy search, I feel Roald Dahl himself would have found Ruby every bit as marvellous as we do,” said Steven Spielberg in a statement released by Dreamworks.

“We have discovered a wonderful Sophie in Ruby Barnhill.”

Barnhill, who has been acting for two years and lives in Cheshire with her family, will appear in the upcoming BBC children’s drama ‘Four O’Clock Club’ next before making her movie debut in ‘The BFG’.

“I feel incredibly lucky and I’m so happy,” said Ruby Barnhill.  “Sophie gets to go on this wonderful adventure and I’m so excited that I get to play her.”

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.”

British stage actor Mark Rylance will play the Big Friendly Giant in this new live action adaptation which begins production in early 2015 with a script by ’E.T.’ screenwriter Melissa Mathison.

This is the second major adaptation of the classic 1982 children’s novel following the made-for-TV animated effort from ITV which famously starred David Jason as the voice of the BFG.

'The BFG' is coming to cinemas on 22 July, 2016.

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Image credits: PA/AP/DreamWorks