Steven Spielberg to direct new Disney adaptation of Roald Dahl classic The BFG

As news of a new Disney adaptation of The BFG, directed by Steven Spielberg, is announced, we choose our five favourite Roald Dahl stories – what are yours?

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Quentin Blake’s illustration of Roald Dahl’s BFG. Image credit: Wikipedia.

It has been announced that, for the very first time, Steven Spielberg is to direct a Disney film: the upcoming adaptation of Roald Dahl’s BFG.

The first big-screen take on Dahl’s classic story already boasts a stellar cast, including stage icon and Wolf Hall star Mark Rylance, who will play the ‘Big Friendly Giant’ alongside newcomer Ruby Barnhill’s Sophie.

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Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall. Image Credit: Company Productions Ltd.

“In more than 40 years of making movies, I have been on the producing end of a number of films for the Walt Disney Company, but never as a director,” Spielberg said in a statement. “It is a special joy to be in the director’s chair as we start The BFG, alongside my longtime friends and film collaborators Kathy Kennedy – who introduced me to this project – Frank Marshall and Melissa Mathison. Together with them and Disney, there are many reasons why I am so excited about this joint venture.”

The BFG will also feature Downton Abbey’s Penelope Wilton as the Queen of England, and Rebecca Hall as her maid, Mary.

A release date of 1 July 2016 is mooted for the film, which is expected to combine CGI and live action.

The film is due to be released on 1 July 2016 in the US and 22 July in the UK, just two months ahead of the 100th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s birth on 13 September 1916.

Our top 5 Roald Dahl stories

The Twits

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First published in 1980, The Twits is the hilarious tale of Mr and Mrs Twit, a pair of frankly revolting, horrible characters who while away their days playing tricks on each other. Written in Dahl’s classic, charming manner and full of fantastic quips and pearls of wisdom, including “If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until you can hardly bear to look at it.

 

Matilda

81eu3FDJSZLFrequently number one on lists of Roald Dahl favourites, Matilda won the Children’s Book Award shortly after it was published in 1988, and has continued to be remarkably popular ever since. Recently adapted for the stage as Matilda the Musical, a show which has won numerous awards, this popularity is showing no signs of waning.

 

James and the Giant Peach

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The loveable tale of James and the Giant Peach was Roald Dahl’s first classic novel for children and follows the adventures of young orphaned boy, James. Forced to live with his cruel aunts, James manages to escape his miserable existence when he discovers the enormous enchanted peach. After rolling into the sea inside the floating fruit, James, accompanied by a group of friendly talking insects, sets sail for New York City.

 

The Witches

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A fantastic example of Roald Dahl’s vivid and incredible imagination, The Witches is the famously scary story of a brave young boy and his Norwegian grandmother battling England’s witches. With plenty of amusing rhymes and idioms, “An idiotic vitch like you… Must rrroast upon the barbecue!”, it is also enchanting in equal measure; “My darling,” she said at last, “are you sure you don’t mind being a mouse for the rest of your life?”, “I don’t mind at all,” I said. “It doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like as long as somebody loves you.”

 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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First published in 1964 in the US and 1967 in the UK, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has gone on to become perhaps Roald Dahl’s best-known story. The story of Charlie Bucket who goes inside the chocolate factory of the somewhat eccentric chocolatier, Willy Wonka after winning one of the five Golden tickets. The story has been adapted for the big screen twice now, first in 1971 with an inspired performance by Gene Wilder as Wonka, and again in 2005 with Johnny Depp in the same role.

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