Steven Spielberg to direct BFG film from Roald Dahl book

Steven Spielberg and Roald Dahl Spielberg (l) said he was 'honoured' to be given the chance to adapt Dahl's 'classic' novel

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Steven Spielberg is to go back behind the camera to direct a new film of The BFG, Roald Dahl's much-loved children's book about a "Big Friendly Giant".

The Jaws and Close Encounters director will begin shooting in early 2015.

First published in 1982, the book tells of an orphaned girl named Sophie who is befriended one night by a kindly giant.

According to the Roald Dahl Literary Estate, the film will be released in 2016 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the author's birth.

"We are delighted that Steven Spielberg will bring his inventive genius to directing the story of The BFG," it said in a statement.

The director will work from a screenplay by Melissa Mathison, who previously wrote the Oscar-nominated script for his 1982 hit E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

"The BFG has enchanted families and their children for more than three decades," said Spielberg in a statement posted on the Roald Dahl website.

"We are honoured that the Roald Dahl estate has entrusted us with this classic story."

Frank Marshall will produce the film, while Michael Siegel and John Madden will serve as its executive producers.

Spielberg, whose other films include Raiders of the Lost Ark and Schindler's List, has not directed a film since 2012's historical epic Lincoln.

The 67-year-old is also producing a Cold War thriller with Tom Hanks that he may also direct.

Dahl, who died in 1990 at the age of 74, considered The BFG one of his favourite books.

Sir David Jason provided the voice of the title character in an animated version made by ITV in 1989.

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