Compared to other authors, Roald Dahl has had better luck than most with cinema adaptations. OK, so Tim Burton‘s gaudy, joyless “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is still fresh in the memory, but most of the film versions of Dahl’s books — the Gene Wilder-starring 1971 “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” Nicolas Roeg‘s “The Witches,” Danny DeVito‘s “Matilda,” Henry Selick‘s “James And The Giant Peach” and Wes Anderson‘s “Fantastic Mr. Fox” — have successfully captured the spirit of Dahl’s work while also managing to stand on their own two feet on the big screen.
With Dahl’s centenary coming up in five years, we imagine a spate of further adaptations will be rolling out (Guillermo Del Toro and Alfonso Cuaron have been planning another take on “The Witches,” for one), and one of Dahl’s most beloved works looks to be among them, as The Wrap report that DreamWorks have acquired the rights to the writer’s 1982 book “The BFG,” with Spielberg veterans Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall set to produce.
The book — adapted once before, in 1989, as a full-length animated film for British television — involves a little girl, Sophie (named for the author’s granddaughter, Sophie Dahl, who grew up to be a model and cookery writer) who meets the titular Big Friendly Giant, and helps him rid the land of fearsome man-eating giants. The studio are clearly pretty serious about the project, having set “E.T.” writer Melissa Mathison — who knows a thing or two about the friendship between children and strange creatures — to pen the script.
All of which makes us ask; could this be something that Steven Spielberg is eying to direct himself, considering the presence of long-time collaborators Mathison, Kennedy and Marshall? He’s busy through the summer of 2013 with “Lincoln” and “Robopocalypse,” but the material is certainly in his wheelhouse. We imagine he won’t make any kind of decision until a script’s ready, but it’s certainly not beyond the realm of possibility.