Steven Spielberg has been tapped to direct a live-action adaptation of the beloved Roald Dahl children’s book, The BFG. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the director has committed to starting work on the film in early 2015, for an expected release in 2016.
Dahl’s book, which was first published in 1982 with its classic Quentin Blake illustrations, tells the story of a Big Friendly Giant who befriends a young orphan girl. The book had previously been adapted as an animated film for British TV in 1989, and DreamWorks acquired the rights to it in 2011. The new adaptation will reunite Spielberg with E.T. screenwriter Melissa Mathison.
Dahl’s darkly comic children’s books have served as rich fodder for movies in the past, from various versions of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Wes Anderson’s 2009 stop-motion animated adaptation of Fantastic Mr. Fox. Dahl, who died in 1990, also wrote a number of screenplays himself, including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice.
Steven Spielberg’s most recent film was 2012’s Lincoln, and he’s currently attached to an adaptation of the David Kertzer novel The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara as well as an untitled Cold War project with Tom Hanks. Last week, director Richard Donner revealed that Spielberg had developed an idea for a sequel to The Goonies, which the two made together in 1985.