We found Sophie

Posted by
Roald Dahl HQ
Posted on
10:00am, 16th December
Ruby Barnhill to play Sophie, here illustrated by Sir Quentin Blake, in Steven Spielberg's forthcoming film adaptation

Newcomer Ruby Barnhill from Cheshire, UK, is cast as Sophie in Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Roald Dahl's The BFG

Newcomer Ruby Barnhill is set to play Sophie in Steven Spielberg's forthcoming adaptation of The BFG. She joins Mark Rylance, previously announced as The Big Friendly Giant, to star in the film version of this much-loved story which is set for release in 2016 - 100 years since Roald Dahl's birth in Llandaff, Wales.

Published in 1982 and now available in 39 languages, The BFG is the tale of a young orphan girl and the mysterious friendly Giant who introduces her to Giant Country. It's said to have been one of Roald Dahl's own favourites and the character of The BFG has a long history in his writing, first appearing in Danny, the Champion of the World.

The BFG will be 10-year-old Ruby Barnhill’s first feature film role.  She has been acting for two years and will appear in the forthcoming BBC BAFTA award-winning children’s drama Four O’Clock Club.  Ruby lives in Cheshire with her parents, younger sister and Tom the cat and is a member of her local youth theatre.

“I feel incredibly lucky and I’m so happy,” said Ruby Barnhill. “Sophie gets to go on this wonderful adventure and I’m so excited that I get to play her.”

“After a lengthy search, I feel Roald Dahl himself would have found Ruby every bit as marvellous as we do,” said Steven Spielberg.  “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. Many congratulations to Ruby on landing the role. We hope that making The BFG proves an utterly magical adventure for her.”

In early drafts, the character of Sophie was actually a boy called Jody. Roald Dahl changed these details following the birth of his granddaughter, and Sophie became one of the most resourceful heroines in all his children's books. The story was also adapted as an animated TV film in 1989.

Production begins on The BFG in early 2015 and the movie is set to open in the U.S. on July 1, 2016, followed by the UK on July 22.

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