Newcomer Ruby Barnhill Cast in Steven Spielberg's 'The BFG'

Spielberg Fundraiser - P 2014
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Spielberg Fundraiser - P 2014

The 10-year-old will play young Sophie in the adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic

DreamWorks Studios said Tuesday that 10-year-old newcomer Ruby Barnhill has been cast as the young girl Sophie in Steven Spielberg's big-screen adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG.

She joins Mark Rylance, who will play the Big Friendly Giant.

Spielberg will direct the film version of the children’s novel, which was published in 1982. It's about a young London girl and the mysterious giant who introduces her to the beauty and peril of Giant Country.

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

It will be her first feature film role. She has been acting for two years and will appear in the upcoming BBC children’s drama Four O’Clock Club.

“After a lengthy search, I feel Roald Dahl himself would have found Ruby every bit as marvelous as we do,” said Spielberg. “We have discovered a wonderful Sophie in Ruby Barnhill.”

DreamWorks acquired the rights to the Dahl book in 2010 after Kathleen Kennedy brought it to the company. Melissa Mathison, who last teamed with Spielberg and Kennedy on E.T., wrote the screenplay. Spielberg, Frank Marshall and Sam Mercer will produce, while Kennedy, John Madden and Michael Siegel are on board as executive producers. Kristie Macosko Krieger and Adam Somner are serving as co-producers.

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Production on the film will begin in early 2015. It will open in U.S. theaters on July 1, 2016. The Walt Disney Company is distributing the film in the U.S. and select international territories. Mister Smith Entertainment is handling distribution in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. DreamWorks’ partner, Reliance, will distribute the film in India.

Twitter: @georgszalai