Variety reports that Ruby Barnhill has been cast as Sophie in The BFG, Steven Spielberg’s next project based on the story by Roald Dahl. Barnhill will play opposite Mark Rylance, who has been cast as The Big Friendly Giant.
“After a lengthy search, I feel Roald Dahl himself would have found Ruby every bit as marvelous as we do,” Spielberg said. “We have discovered a wonderful Sophie in Ruby Barnhill.”
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.”
This will be Barnhill’s first feature film role, after a two-year acting stint that includes the BBC BAFTA award-winning children’s drama Four O’Clock Club.
The BFG is the story of an orphan girl and the mysterious friendly Giant who introduces her to Giant Country. Originally published in 1982, the story has been published in thirty-nine languages.
Production begins early next year, with the film is set for release in the U.S. on July 1, 2016 and the U.K. on July 22. Melissa Mathison (E.T.) has written the screenplay. Spielberg, Frank Marshall, and Sam Mercer will produce with Kathleen Kennedy, John Madden, and Michael Siegel set as executive producers.