‘E.T.’ Creative Team Reunites as Steven Spielberg Signs On to Direct Roald Dahl’s ‘The BFG’

By  · Published on April 26th, 2014

‘E.T.’ Creative Team Reunites as Steven Spielberg Signs On to Direct Roald Dahl’s ‘The BFG’

Penguin Books

I’m not too familiar with Roald Dahl’s book “The BFG.” When everyone else seemed to be reading it in middle school, I always had this idea, based on the cover illustration depicting a very large man holding a tiny girl, that the initials stood for “Big Fucking Guy.” Really, though, it’s all about a “Big Friendly Giant” – the only friendly one, in fact – who kidnaps then befriends that tiny girl, who isn’t really tiny but just normal sized. There are some other giants in the story, too, and the new pals aim to stop them from eating people. The Queen of England becomes involved. Honestly, I’m just going by the Wikipedia page and book cover synopsis, so I’ll stop there before I mess anything up or spoil the ending.

The important thing is that they’re making another movie of the book, this one live-action. And by “they,” I mean none other than Steven Spielberg has reportedly signed on to direct The BFG, as adapted by none other than his E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial screenwriter, Melissa Mathison (who also adapted the varying-sized pals story The Indian in the Cupboard). Not only that, but it’ll be produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, both of whom also worked on the classic 1982 movie about a boy and his alien BFF (that one stands for “best friend forever”). Interestingly enough, “The BFG” was published the same year E.T. first arrived in theaters.

Even if Spielberg doesn’t actually end up directing this movie (he has so many other projects he’s attached to on any given day), it’ll make sense for him to at least have some involvement. After all, it fits right in his wheelhouse, even if his productions tend to involve boys with strange playmates, and even if those playmates tend to be aliens or robots or giant robots (and sometimes also the boys are robots), whereas this is a girl and a giant person. It’d be a shame if he let this go as a directorial effort, however, because selling the thing on being a reunion of four main creative talents from one of the most classic family films of all time is a BFD (that one stands for “big fucking deal”).

Now they just have to go all out and get John Williams to do a catchy score, hire editor Carol Littleton, whom he’s never worked with on anything except E.T., and cinematographer Allen Daviau, who he hasn’t collaborated with since Empire of the Sun, and strike a product placement deal with Reese’s Pieces. Then he’ll have the whole band back together. Maybe cast Peter Coyote as The BFG for the heck of it, too. Because they might as well GFB or GFH (that’s “go fucking big or go fucking home”).

Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.