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Steven Spielberg to direct The BFG

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Steven Spielberg will direct a new film of The BFG, Roald Dahl’s much-loved children’s book about a “Big Friendly Giant”.

Steven Spielberg will begin shooting in early 2015.

First published in 1982, the book tells of an orphaned girl named Sophie who is befriended one night by a kindly giant.

Roald Dahl considered The BFG one of his favorite books

Roald Dahl considered The BFG one of his favorite books

According to the Roald Dahl Literary Estate, the film will be released in 2016 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the author’s birth.

“We are delighted that Steven Spielberg will bring his inventive genius to directing the story of The BFG,” it said in a statement.

Steven Spielberg will work from a screenplay by Melissa Mathison, who previously wrote the Oscar-nominated script for his 1982 hit E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

“The BFG has enchanted families and their children for more than three decades,” said Steven Spielberg in a statement posted on the Roald Dahl website.

“We are honored that the Roald Dahl estate has entrusted us with this classic story.”

Frank Marshall will produce the film, while Michael Siegel and John Madden will serve as its executive producers.

Steven Spielberg, 67, has not directed a film since 2012’s historical epic Lincoln.

He is also producing a Cold War thriller with Tom Hanks that he may also direct.

Roald Dahl, who died in 1990 at the age of 74, considered The BFG one of his favorite books.