Disney Teams With Steven Spielberg for "The BFG," Starring Mark Rylance | Playbill

News Disney Teams With Steven Spielberg for "The BFG," Starring Mark Rylance The Walt Disney Studios announced it will co-produce and co-finance Steven Spielberg's "The BFG," marking the three-time Academy Award winner's first time directing a Disney-branded movie.

Tony Award winner Mark Rylance heads the cast as the titular “Big Friendly Giant" with newcomer Ruby Barnhill as Sophie, Penelope Wilton as The Queen and Rebecca Hall as Mary, the Queen’s maid. Bill Hader, Jemaine Clement, Michael David Adamthwaite, Daniel Bacon, Chris Gibbs, Adam Godley, Jonathan Holmes, Paul Moniz de Sa and Olafur Olaffson are all cast as giants.

Mark Rylance
Mark Rylance

"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," stated Spielberg. "It is a special joy to be in the director's chair as we start 'The BFG,' alongside my long-time 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."

"With Steven Spielberg at the helm, ‘The BFG’ will undoubtedly capture the minds of children and adults alike--as Roald Dahl’s original stories and many of Steven’s own films have done for decades," added Alan Horn, chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. "The team at Disney has tremendous respect for the filmmakers, and we’re thrilled to join with them to make what will be a spectacular picture."

"This partnership speaks to the spirit of storytelling and the kinds of movies that we make here," said Michael Wright, CEO of DreamWorks Studios. "Over the years, we have enjoyed a fruitful collaboration, and we couldn’t be more excited to be working with Disney in this expanded capacity on ‘The BFG.’"

"The BFG" is described as "the exciting tale of a young London girl and the mysterious Giant who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country." Based on the novel by Roald Dahl, “The BFG” features a film adaptation based on a script by Melissa Mathison.

Spielberg, Frank Marshall and Sam Mercer will produce while Kathleen Kennedy, John Madden, Michael Siegel and Kristie Macosko Krieger are on board as executive producers. Adam Somner is a co-producer.

The film will open in U.S. theatres July 1, 2016, the year that coincides with the 100th anniversary of Dahl’s birth.

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