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Why legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg is the perfect choice to direct The BFG

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This summer, one of Hollywood's greatest filmmakers, Steven Spielberg, turns his attention to one of the greatest-ever children's stories, The BFG. Here's why it's a match made in heaven...

Spielberg is a master of family movies

Think about all those classic family hits that appeal to viewers of all ages, from 5 to 105. E.T., the Indiana Jones movies (discarding the most recent one, obvs), Jurassic ParkTintin, War Horse – Spielberg has that magical touch that fuses laughs, tears and scares in a seamless package. This makes him the ideal person to tackle the wonderfully strange world of Roald Dahl's The BFG.


He has past form in adapting novels

Spielberg transformed Peter Benchley's relatively trashy novel Jaws into iconic cinema and he's also turned his attention to the likes of J.G. Ballard's World War II autobiography Empire of the Sun, Thomas Keneally's Schindler's List and many more.

Dahl's classic novel is therefore in very safe hands.


He's superb at directing child actors

Given The BFG revolves around young orphan Sophie (Ruby Barnhill), who is taken by the eponymous Big Friendly Giant to his wondrous homeland, it's vital we have a director who can pull us into a child's point of view.

Spielberg has always been that person: just think of the extraordinary performances he got out of Henry Thomas and a very young Drew Barrymore in E.T. If any filmmaker is going to be sensitive in how they treat the character of Sophie, it's Spielberg.


In fact, he's superb at directing actors full stop

The BFG sees Spielberg reunite with his Bridge of Spies actor Mark Rylance, the film for which Rylance received his first Oscar nomination. But throughout the history of Spielberg's movies, any number of actors have given iconic performances from Robert Shaw in Jaws to Tom Hanks in Saving Private Ryan

Not just a master craftsman, Spielberg is deeply in tune with his actors' needs, which bodes very well for Rylance's motion capture performance as the BFG himself.


He's a master of spectacle

If anyone knows how to make our jaws drop, it's Spielberg. Just think of the first reveal in Jurassic Park when the T-Rex breaks out of its enclosure – even today, that sequence puts most CGI to shame. 

He's a director who can marshal visuals and sound to their fullest extent to make us press back into our seats, and the richly eccentric world of Roald Dahl should therefore provide him ample opportunity to cut loose. Frankly we can't wait.


The BFG
is released on 22nd July.