Tony and Olivier Award winning actor Mark Rylance has been cast to play the Big Friendly Giant in Steven Spielberg's upcoming adaptation of Roald Dahl's book.

Spielberg said in a statement about the casting, "As I witnessed on stage, Mark Rylance is a transformational actor. I am excited and thrilled that Mark will be making this journey with us to Giant Country.

"Everything about his career so far is about making the courageous choice and I'm honored he has chosen The BFG as his next big screen performance."

Rylance and Spielberg are currently working together on the Untitled Cold War Spy Thriller, which also stars Tom Hanks.

Production on The BFG will begin in early 2015 and is slated for a July 2016 release.