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Newcomer Ruby Barnhill will star in Spielberg's forthcoming The BFG

Joshua Rothkopf

Being a kid in a Steven Spielberg film doesn't automatically guarantee superstardom: Despite his excellent work in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Henry Thomas's career never took off. Then again, Thomas's costar, Drew Barrymore (then six), was here to stay. What is certain: The director knows how to work with children, better than anyone before or since. From curious Carey Guffey in Close Encounters of the Third Kind to a preteen Dakota Fanning in 2005's War of the Worlds, Spielberg's films are studded with beautiful turns by young people, their faces marked by wonderment, fear and a kind of unfussy magic.

So it's big news today for unknown British 10-year-old Ruby Barnhill, who will make her feature-film debut in Spielberg's forthcoming The BFG, based on Roald Dahl's 1982 kids-lit classic. (In case you're not up on your bedtime reading, "BFG" stands for Big Friendly Giant.) In another piece of casting that's already been announced, Tony winner Mark Rylance will play the title role. From Rylance, we always expect major things. Calling it now—this movie's on our top-ten list for 2016.


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