Trivia / The BFG

The book

  • What Could Have Been: In early drafts of the story, the BFG abducted a boy called Jody. It was later changed to a girl, named Sophie after Roald Dahl's granddaughter.
  • Write What You Know:
    • Dahl said the BFG's made-up words are collected from his wife Patricia Neal's damaged vocabulary after a surgery, in fact they are left in for the parents to understand.
    • A television is called a Bunkum Box, which comes from the American political term Buncombe.

The 1989 animated movie:

  • Actor Allusion: The boy who dreams that he becomes invisible has a Danger Mouse poster in his room. David Jason, who voices the BFG, had provided the voice of Danger Mouse.
  • Creator-Preferred Adaptation: Roald Dahl reportedly stood up and clapped at the end when he first saw it.
  • Deleted Scene: A tie-in book based on the film showed still images of a scene that didn't appear in the final cut. It has Sophie getting separated from the BFG on the way back from Dream Country - getting dropped amongst the rest of the giants by a dragonfly. The BFG rescues her before the other giants wake up, although they do sense a human's scent. The shot of the giants leaving is used in the Queen's nightmare.

The 2016 live-action movie:

  • Acclaimed Flop: Was well-received by critics but was a box office failure. Did we forget to mention that this movie was directed by Steven Spielberg, whose name is almost guaranteed to draw audiences to the theaters? It's generally agreed that a lack of a viable star (Oscar winner Mark Rylance and Penelope Wilton aren't Hollywood A-Listers despite being very talented character actors) played a key factor with dismal numbers. To Spielberg's credit, he's not alone; this is one of at least five films based on a Roald Dahl story to become an Acclaimed Flop.
  • Acting for Two: The actors playing the giants also portray the drunken men Sophie complains about at the start of the film.
  • Box Office Bomb: Like many a Roald Dahl adaptation before it sadly, including Disney's other Dahl adaptation from Spielberg's contemporary Tim Burton 20 years prior, which was James and the Giant Peach. The film was made on a $140 million budget, yet only made $23.4 million on its opening weekend, making it perhaps the biggest bomb of Steven Spielberg's entire career, after 1941. What couldn't have helped was not only it opening in the midst of Finding Dory's red-hot winning streak (something Disney was far more focused on than The BFG), but also Spielberg's studio having a falling out with Disney executives during production over their increased focus on tentpole films, and paddling back to Universal after having snubbed them for Disney six years before. The box office failure of this movie may have more or less vindicated his decision.note 
  • Executive Meddling: The film had to be released under the Amblin Entertainment name instead of the DreamWorks name due to a mandate from DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg that was set up where the name DreamWorks could not be used on a live-action family film, possibly to avoid confusion.
  • In Memoriam: Dedicated to screenwriter and longtime Spielberg collaborator Melissa Mathison. It was her last screenplay before her death in 2015.
  • Screwed by the Network: Why Disney decided to release this film only two weeks after Finding Dory is anyone's guess, though it's plausible that the aforementioned fallout between Spielberg and Disney may have played a hand in this (2016 is also the year of author Roald Dahl's centennial). Plus, Disney has been very big on supporting projects that can spin out additional films, The Merch, Expanded Universe spinoffs, and so on...whereas this story is a one-and-done case that had no real merchandising possibilities.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Spielberg offered Gene Wilder a cameo, as he had played Willy Wonka in fellow Roald Dahl film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. He declined. Sadly, Wilder died weeks after The BFG's release.
    • When the film was first greenlit, Robin Williams was considered to play the titular character.

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