Steven Spielberg has recently attached himself to a delightful new project that honors his unmatchable sensibilities in the thrilling world of make-believe. The world-famous director will be taking the reigns for child author Roald Dahl’s next big screen adaptation for DreamWorks–The Big Friendly Giant. The children’s book is currently transforming its giant tale into a live-action film, and as for now the project is in the preliminary stages, planning on a 2015 start date with a 2016 release.
For those who need to be reacquainted with the storyline, the fantastically animated book is about a young, orphan girl, Sophie, who is “kidsnatched” from her orphanage by the only likable giant in the world. The big, friendly giant’s personal mission is to gather up all the good dreams and replace nasty nightmares with his benevolent collection. More than 30 years later, the BFG is one of Dahl’s most lovable characters, and according to the Roald Dahl website, of all of Dahl’s stories, The BFG was most likely his own personal favorite. The character of Sophie is said to be inspired by his real-life grand-daughter Sophie. Although the book was written in 1982, the website states ideas for the story began several years prior in one of Dahl’s idea journals, which contained a selection of thoughts and scribbles that often turned into published works.
Along with Quentin Blake’s illustrations, the tale of the friendly giant won the Federation of Children’s Book Group Award the year it came out. The first movie adaptation of the story was in 1989 when a made-for-TV production was released in the U.K. with the voice of David Jason as the giant. However, despite the 1989 release, the recent interest including Spielberg is not the first time the movie industry has set about making plans to adapt the book. When DreamWorks acquired the rights to the book back in 2011, Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall were set to produce, and directors such as John Madden and Chris Columbus were attached to the project at different times.
Since past directors have in one way or another moved on from the adaptation, it seems as if it was a perfect time for the block-buster mastermind to sign on. Melissa Mathison, who is famously associated with penning the E.T. script, will be cooperating alongside Spielberg’s direction and writing the last of the drafts. Mathison has been working on the script since DreamWorks bought the rights in 2011. Marshall is still slotted to remain in the producer’s seat, while Madden and Michael Siegel will be executive producers. Now that Kennedy is operating at Lucasfilm, she is too busy producing the new Star Wars movies to be involved with the BFG project.
The 30th anniversary of The BFG was over two years ago. What a better way to honor Dahl and his creative work than put it in the hands of one of Hollywood’s most successful movie-makers for children of all ages. Although the cast is yet to be revealed, as are many other components of the film, The Big Friendly Giant in the hands of Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks is sure to continue to win hearts for year and years to come.
Opinion by Stacy Feder