Legendary movie director Steven Spielberg has a knack for finding talent.
And now there’s 11-year-old Ruby Barnhill, the pint-sized star of the Disney film “The BFG,” an adaptation of the beloved children’s novel by Roald Dahl that tells the story of an orphaned girl and a big, friendly giant.
“GMA”’s Abbie Boudreau sat down with Spielberg and Ruby. Boudreau asked the director how he found his newest little star.
Spielberg described the process as “a long, exhaustive search.
“Toward the end of the search, maybe seven, eight months into our search, along came an audition by Ruby here ... and I could not believe my good fortune,” he said, noting that what struck him about her was that her personality came through and she made the words in the script her own.
That authenticity convinced him that he should meet her in person, he said. He gave her the part a day later.
“It is a great film. And I think everyone’s going to enjoy it,” Ruby said of her debut picture.
Although it’s a whimsical tale, it deals with very real themes, including overcoming bullying -- something which Spielberg said he experienced in elementary and high school.
“But I also experienced people standing up for me,” he said, adding: “When you're being surrounded and you're being shamed and you're being torn down, the one brave person that comes out of a lot of people who would rather remain silent ... that one person that steps forward and says, ‘Don't do that. Don't say those things,’ and stands between you and the bully, you never forget that person.”
Spielberg calls the “The BFG” "truly a love story."
“This is really a story about friendship and it's a great story about two people who are very similar to each other. From the outside, they're completely dissimilar. But on the inside, they're almost the same person. They become almost the same person,” he said.
“The BFG” represented an escape for its director.
“I've been making so many movies about history where I'm very much, you know, kind of governed by the facts of history.... So this to me was my escape into a complete world where there was no limitations,” Spielberg said, adding: “We all got to use our imaginations. “
"The BFG" premieres on Friday.
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