Steven Spielberg's 'The BFG' to be Co-Financed and Co-Produced by Walden Media

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Steven Spielberg

The adaptation of the Roald Dahl book begins filming in March for a 2016 release.

Walden Media is coming aboard Steven Spielberg’s big-screen adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG as co-financer and co-producer with DreamWorks Studios. The deal was announced Thursday by DreamWorks president and COO Jeff Small and Walden Media president and CEO Frank Smith.

The BFG is Spielberg’s next project, set to follow his current film, Bridge of Spies, starring Tom Hanks. Mark Rylance is set to star in The BFG as the Big Friendly Giant, with Ruby Barnhill playing Sophie, a young girl in London who is introduced to Giant Country.

Melissa Mathison, who last teamed with Spielberg for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, has written the screenplay. Spielberg, Frank Marshall and Sam Mercer are producing, with Kathleen Kennedy, John Madden and Michael Siegel serving as executive producers and Kristie Macosko Krieger and Adam Somner on board as co-producers.

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Production on the film is set to begin in March for a July 1, 2016 release, with Disney distributing in the U.S. and select international territories, and Mister Smith Entertainment overseeing distribution in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. DreamWorks’ partner, Reliance, will distribute the film in India.

“Walden is delighted to be involved with DreamWorks in bringing this imaginative and timeless Roald Dahl classic to the big screen. I cannot think of a more perfect director than Steven Spielberg to capture the magic and to tell this story,” said Smith in a statement, with Small adding: “When it comes to quality entertainment, Walden Media is an ideal partner for this exciting project, and we couldn’t be more pleased to have them on board.”

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Walden most recently released The Giver, starring Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges, and it's now in postproduction on Universal’s adventure-thriller Everest, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin and Jason Clarke. Walden is also financing and producing a feature-film adaptation of Alice Ozma’s best-selling memoir, The Reading Promise, in collaboration with Relativity Media.

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