The BFG, a movie directed by Steven Spielberg, hits theaters this Friday, and it appears a new star is born. Who is Ruby Barnhill? She's a pre-teen girl from Chesire, England, and the leading actor playing Sophie in the film. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Spielberg revealed that he knew Barnhill would "connect with the role," from her first audition for Sophie:
Ruby was so spontaneous and she was authentic as Ruby Barnhill, and I kept thinking, ‘Wow if we can get that authenticity to translate into the character of Sophie. Because what I’m not looking for is the performance, I’m looking for the truth about who Sophie really is. I just wanted Sophie to be as close to Ruby as humanly possible and Ruby made that happen for all of us.
The BFG is based on Roald Dahl's children book, The BFG, a story of the adventures between a big friendly giant (BFG), played by Mark Rylance in the film, and a young girl in England.
According to The Telegraph, acting runs in Barnhill's family. Her father is also an actor who has a cameo in the film. Barnhill previously held a role in the BBC's children's drama 4 O'Clock Club, The Telegraph reported. This is Barnhill's first feature film role. And you might say working with Spielberg for your first feature film is not exactly a bad start to a growing acting career. No, it's actually inspiringly amazing. And Barnhill appears to not take the opportunity lightly whatsoever.
"To work with two such wonderful, gentle and kind people — they’re both so supportive,” she said according to Entertainment Weekly. “Sometimes I found it quite hard to imagine, well at first, I found it quite hard to imagine, and so Mark would come to help me with it so that was really nice.”
It's always exciting to look back at the early careers of successful adult actors to remember where it all started. As ABC News pointed out, Spielberg has quite a history of recognizing child stars — Drew Barrymore and Christian Bale to name a few. Spielberg referred to finding Barnhill as "good fortune."
As for the film's message, the director has a personal connection to its anti-bullying theme, according to ABC News:
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.
Something tells me we'll be seeing a lot more from Barnhill.