Walden Media has come aboard to co-finance and co-produce DreamWorks StudiosThe BFG, the Steven Spielberg-directed adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1982 kids novel about a little girl, the Queen of England and a benevolent giant known as the BFG. The three set out on an adventure to capture the evil, man-eating giants who have been invading the human world.

The addition of Walden, which has produced such tentpole adaptations as as The Chronicles Of Narnia series and Journey To The Center Of The Earth, firms up plans for the Disney pic that will now begin production this month for a July 1, 2016 release date. That makes it the next project for Spielberg, who has been lining up projects including teaming with Jennifer Lawrence and Warner Bros on It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life Of Love And War, a memoir by Lynsey Addario. He also has been talking up returning to Raiders Of The Lost Ark territory with Chris Pratt his target to take over the Indiana Jones role.

WaldenMediaIn The BFG, Tony winner Mark Rylance has been set to star as the titular Big Friendly Giant and newcomer Ruby Barnhill will play Sophie, the girl.

“Walden is delighted to be involved with DreamWorks in bringing this imaginative and timeless Roald Dahl classic to the big screen,” Walden Media president and CEO Frank Smith said. “I cannot think of a more perfect director than Steven Spielberg to capture the magic and to tell this story.”

bfgbookMelissa Mathison, who last teamed with Spielberg on E.T., adapted the screenplay after DreamWorks acquired rights to the book in 2010. Spielberg, Frank Marshall and Sam Mercer will produce while Kathleen Kennedy (who brought in the project), John Madden and Michael Siegel are executive producers, and Kristie Macosko Krieger and Adam Somner are co-producers.

Disney Company is also distributing in select overseas territories. DreamWorks’ financier Reliance will release in India and Mister Smith is overseeing distribution in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Walden’s last theatrical release was The Giver, which the Weinstein Company released in August with a cast including Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgård, Katie Holmes, Odeya Rush and Taylor Swift. It’s now in post on Universal’s mountain climber tale Everest helmed by Baltasar Kormakur and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Jason Clarke, Keira Knightley, John Hawkes, Sam Worthington, Emily Watson and Robin Wright.

The company also is financing and producing a feature adaptation of Alice Ozma’s memoir The Reading Promise with Relativity Media.

“When it comes to quality entertainment, Walden Media is an ideal partner for this exciting project, and we couldn’t be more pleased to have them on board,” said DreamWorks Studios president and COO Jeff Small.