Christmas really has come early(ish) for one lucky little girl, because ten-year-old Ruby Barnhill has been cast as Sophie for Steven Spielberg‘s version of Roald Dahl‘s The BFG.
She will join veteran thesp Mark Rylance, who takes on the title role, in what is arguably the most eagerly-anticipated adaptation of one of the legendary author’s stories.
It took a lengthy trawl throughout the land for Spielberg and his team to find their leading lady, but the great director didn’t get where he is today without having an eye for talent, so we trust him when he says: “We have discovered a wonderful Sophie in Ruby Barnhill.”
It is child actors in particular where Spielberg really seems to know his onions. He famously cast an unknown youngster by the name of Drew Barrymore in ET back in 1982. Five years later, the Jaws maestro struck gold once more when he unleashed a certain Christian Bale on an unsuspecting world, who was a mere 13 years of age when he starred in Empire of the Sun.
On this evidence, it’s looking a safe bet that the Barnhill family will be eating turkey for life. As for Ruby herself, her only credit to date is the BBC children’s drama Four O’ Clock, in between spells with her local youth theatre group. To say that life will never be the same again would probably be the understatement of the millennium, especially when a mover and shaker of Spielberg’s stature says: “I feel Roald Dahl himself would have found Ruby every bit as marvellous as we do.” For the part of the Queen though, he will probably have to settle for someone with a little more experience – what price Dame Helen Mirren to reprise her famous role?
It is expected that the cameras will start rolling next month, with the much-anticipated release due in summer 2016.