Disney and Amblin Entertainment, in association with Walden Media, present the fantasy adventure film “The BFG,” the first-ever motion picture adaptation of Roald Dahl’s resonant tale of childhood, the magic of dreams and the extraordinary friendship between a young girl and a big friendly giant.
Roald Dahl’s seminal tale of the friendship between a young girl and a mysterious giant seemed perfectly aligned with director Steven Spielberg’s own body of work, and while it may have seemed destined that Sophie and the BFG would one day find their way into Spielberg’s care, it would be decades following the book’s publication before the journey would actually begin.
Dahl’s “The BFG” was first published in 1982, the same year Spielberg’s own story about an unusual and transformative friendship, “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial,” captured the hearts and imaginations of children and adults alike. The British author is one of the world’s most creative, mischievous and successful storytellers, someone who understands the inner lives of children and has a knack for creating characters that kids could relate to and storylines which kept them involved.
His ability to combine the fantastical with the frightening and place children as the heroes of his innovative stories, and adults as the villains, is unrivaled in the literary world. While Dahl’s stories recognize that life can be difficult and sometimes scary, that there is good with the bad, he never patronizes his readers.
Producer Frank Marshall (“Jurassic World”) says, “Dahl’s stories are not just happy-go-lucky fantasies. There’s a lot of humor to them, but there’s also a little bit of a dark side. He walks on the edge. They’re a little scary, and I think that’s what appeals to people.”
Spielberg agrees, saying, “It was very brave of him to introduce that combination of darkness and light, which was so much Walt Disney’s original signature in a lot of his earlier works like ‘Dumbo,’ ‘Fantasia,’ ‘Snow White’ and ‘Cinderella.’ Being able to be scary and redemptive at the same time, and teach a lesson, an enduring lesson, to everyone—it was a wonderful thing for Dahl to have done, and it was one of the things that attracted me to want to direct this Dahl book.”
“The BFG” is the story of the two lonely souls who, in finding one another, create their own home in the world, which is a consistent thread in Spielberg’s rich body of work. “Steven has always gravitated towards stories about families, which is one of the reasons his films have resonated with so many people,” says executive producer Kathleen Kennedy (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” the “Indiana Jones” films).
Spielberg has been a fan of Dahl’s for years, and in fact had read the book to his own children when they were younger. “It’s a story about friendship, it’s a story about loyalty and protecting your friends and it’s a story that shows that even a little girl can help a big giant solve his biggest problems,” he says.
Dahl created stories to tell his children and grandchildren, but was always hesitant to write any of them down, something with which the director could relate. “When I told my kids stories that they were especially fond of, they would beg me to make a movie about it,” Spielberg says. “Fortunately Dahl did eventually agree to share his stories with the world, and we’re all the better because of it.”
“The BFG” is enormously popular around the world, and to date has been published in 41 languages. It was also Dahl’s own favorite of all his stories. While the author passed away in 1990 at the age of 74, the producers forged a relationship with his widow and had many conversations about how important the book was to Dahl and whether or not a movie was even realistic. “We talked a lot about whether it would be better as animation or live action, because at the time, none of the technology that we were talking about using even existed,” explains Kennedy.
The filmmakers began to focus on translating the scope of the book onto the big screen, which was a technological challenge that sparked the director’s imagination. On its surface, the logistical puzzle presented by the story is barely evident. But “The BFG” required something much more than new worlds synthesized in the computer. This special story about the friendship between two very different characters, one small, the other very big, one real, one fantastical, would inspire the creation of an entirely new way of fusing the elements of fantasy and reality.
Opening across the Philippines on Aug. 10, “The BFG” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures through Columbia Pictures. Like us on Facebook, WaltDisneyStudiosPH; follow us on Twitter, @disney_phil; follow us on Instagram, @disney.ph and use the hashtag #TheBFGPH.