British actor Mark Rylance talks to the media as he arrives to attend the 2010 Laurence Olivier Awards in central London on March 21, 2010
Jas Lehal—Reuters
October 28, 2014 2:51 AM EDT

Mark Rylance, a towering figure in the theater world, is set to get all the more towering — reaching at least 24 ft., to be exact.

Rylance will play the BFG in Steven Spielberg’s big-screen adaptation of the Roald Dahl book about a “Big Friendly Giant,” the Guardian reports.

The BFG, published in 1982 and reportedly Dahl’s personal favorite of his much loved books, is the tale of an orphaned girl, Sophie, who one night meets a very big and friendly giant. Sophie and the BFG set out together to save the world from much less friendly, people-eating giants.

“As I witnessed on stage, Mark Rylance is a transformational actor,” said Spielberg in a statement. “I am excited and thrilled that Mark will be making this journey with us to Giant Country.

“Everything about his career so far is about making the courageous choice,” he said.

Rylance, a top British theater actor, is a three-time Tony Award winner and has also won two Oliviers.

“We are ecstatic at this choice,” said Luke Kelly, managing director of the Roald Dahl Literary Estate and Dahl’s grandson, in a statement. “Mark is incredibly talented, one of the great British actors working today.”

“The thought of watching him transform into ‘the only nice and jumbly Giant in Giant Country’ is, as the BFG himself might say, absolutely phizz-whizzing,” said Kelly.

Production on The BFG is expected to begin in early 2015, and the film is due to hit theaters in summer 2016.

[Guardian]

Write to Elizabeth Barber at elizabeth.barber@timeasia.com.

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