Steven Spielberg set to direct ‘The Big Friendly Giant’ with ‘E.T.’ writer

Filmmaker Steven Spielberg is set adapt Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book The BFG for the big screen in a new live-action movie.

The director will reunite with E.T. the Extra Terrestrial screenwriter Melissa Mathison to tackle the 1982 story, about a Big Friendly Giant who befriends a young orphan girl.

Production on the movie is expected to begin early next year, with a planned release in 2016, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall of DreamWorks are producing.

The BFG was previously turned into an animated TV film in 1989.

It’s the latest Dahl book to receive the Hollywood treatment – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has been adapted for two big films, the first in 1971 with Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, while Johnny Depp tackled the same role in Tim Burton’s 2005 release. Director Wes Anderson also took charge of a stop-motion animated version of Fantastic Mr Fox, featuring the voices of George Clooney and Meryl Streep, in 2009.

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