Downton Abbey’s Penelope Wilton to play the Queen in BFG movie

Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Roald Dahl stars Wolf Hall's Mark Rylance and now also features Rebecca Hall and Flight of the Conchords' Jemaine Clement

Penelope Wilton’s life of on-screen luxury will not end with Downton Abbey – the Olivier Award-winning actress is set to play the Queen in Steven Spielberg’s movie version of The BFG.


Wilton, who plays Isobel Crawley in ITV’s period drama, joins Wolf Hall star Mark Rylance in the adaptation of the classic children’s book by Roald Dahl. Rylance will play the Big Friendly Giant himself.

Rebecca Hall, who appeared opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC1’s Parade’s End, has also been cast in the big screen adaptation, along with Flight of the Conchords comedian Jemaine Clement.

Director Steven Spielberg has teamed up with Disney to make the film, which is expected to be released in summer 2016 – 100 years after Roald Dahl’s birth.

New child actress Ruby Barnhill will play young orphan Sophie, who meets the BFG and eventually convinces the Queen of England to capture the horrid child-eating giants of Giant Country.

David Jason voiced the whizzpopping Big Friendly Giant in a animated version of the story in 1989.


Wilton has already said she is not sad that this will be the last year of Downton Abbey: “I’m not upset about it,” she said at the 2015 Olivier Awards. “When something has run its course, it’s good to end on a high note.”