Margaret here as your resident Roald Dahl enthusiast, reporting on the upcoming big-screen adaptation of The BFG from Steven Spielberg.
The fantastical 1982 novel follows a precocious little girl named Sophie and the titular BFG (Big Friendly Giant) who whisks her away into his world of catching and distributing dreams. The story's elements of darkness and absurdity (horrifying man-eating giants and a surprising amount of flatulence) are typical of Dahl, though perhaps less prominent than in some of his other well-known works.
DreamWorks has announced that revered British stage actor Mark Rylance will be taking the title role. The the winner of three Tonys, two Oliviers, and a BAFTA, Rylance is nonetheless relatively unknown in the film world. This left-field choice for the lead is heartening; to choose an actor whose bankability is so entirely off the map shows great confidence in his ability, and bodes well for an interest in serving the material.
Certainly Steven Spielberg, who will direct and produce, knows his way around a heartwarming family film. Yet for the work of an author as misanthropic and wicked as Dahl, my heart wants a filmmaker who's proven they can do fanciful children's stories with more of an edge-- someone more like Cuarón or del Toro than the man who brought us E.T. (Not incidentally, the team who brought us that Best Picture nominee are reuniting for The BFG: Melissa Mathison and Kathleen Kennedy are respectively set to write and exec-produce.)
Production will begin in a few months, and it will open in the United States on July 1, 2016. Let's hope that, as the BFG might say, they don't gobblefunk around with this children's classic.
Other Dahl fans among us: how does this look to you? Any theater-goers here willing to attest to Rylance's abilities? And the most important question of all: will the Queen make a giant-slaying cameo as herself?