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10-year-old British newcomer Ruby Barnhill to star in Spielberg’s “BFG”

Short of Lincoln 2: The Legend of Washington’s Gold, a script I sent to Stephen Spielberg last year that is pending approval, The BFG is definitely the Spielberg project I am most looking forward to. We already know that British stage actor Mark Rylance will be assuming the role of the Big Friendly Giant, and now we have the name of the actress who will be playing the female lead of the adaptation.

Yahoo Movies reported today that the role of Sophie in The BFG has gone to Ruby Barnhill, a 10-year-old actress from Cheshire. The news was announced in a statement from Spielberg courtesy of Dreamworks, during which he explains that “After a lengthy search, [he feels] Roald Dahl himself would have found Ruby every bit as marvellous as we do…We have discovered a wonderful Sophie in Ruby Barnhill.”

Ruby Barnhill, walking in the footsteps of giants as Sophie
Ruby Barnhill will be walking in the footsteps of giants as Sophie

In the story originally written by beloved novelist Roald Dahl, Sophie is an orphan who accompanies the BFG in an attempt to stop the other much bigger, less friendly giants.

Marky Rylance will play the Big Friendly Giant
Marky Rylance will play the Big Friendly Giant

While she may seem like a (literally) small part of the story, the people in the know strongly beg to differ. Luke Kelly, Managing Director of the Roald Dahl Literary Estate has explained that “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.” Well, Luke Kelly would know…he is Dahl’s grandson after all.

It’s also a treat to get an idea of how the actress herself responded to the news. When asked about her reaction, Barnhill said “I feel incredibly lucky and I’m so happy…Sophie gets to go on this wonderful adventure and I’m so excited that I get to play her.”

The BFG and Sophie, in the original Quentin Blake drawings
The BFG and Sophie, in the original Quentin Blake drawings

The script for Spielberg’s magical feature is from Melissa Mathison, whom you may recognise as the screenwriter from E.T, so we know that she and the director have a foundation of sorts. It seems like this project is going from strength to strength and I’m definitely looking forward to the release date of July 22nd, 2016.

How gigantic are your expectations for this project?