The BFG is one of Roald Dahl’s most beloved stories, and it’s finally heading to the big screen this summer. But The BFG almost came to theaters twenty years ago with screen legend Robin Williams attached to play “the big friendly giant” himself.
Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall shared the story of Williams’ The BFG involvement with Entertainment Weekly, and apparently the film moved pretty far along in the process with Williams firmly on board.
“Robin spent a lot of time with us actually doing cast readings and he was hilarious,” recalled Kennedy. “He would have been a great BFG.”
At the time, Williams was still one of the biggest box office draws. So why didn’t The BFG go forward with Williams in the title role? Marshall appeared to place the blame on the technical limitations of the era.
“One of the challenges, obviously, was how to do it,” said Marshall. “One of the most important things for Steven [Spielberg] was to have the actors in the same space so they were relating to each other…Even five, 10 years ago the two actors would have had to be in different stages to do this. That wouldn’t work very well. So it would have not made it, in my opinion.”
The BFG movie was given new life thanks to a draft of the script by the late screenwriter, Melissa Mathison, as well as the renewed interest of Spielberg when special effects technology finally caught up with the story behind the film. The role of the big friendly giant ultimately went to Mark Rylance, with Ruby Barnhill as Sophie, the girl who inadvertently summons the giant.
Disney will release The BFG on Friday, July 1.
Would you have preferred a version of The BFG in the ’90s with Robin Williams as the giant? Let us know in the comment section below!
HT: Entertainment Weekly
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox Television/CBS