Filmmaker Steven Spielberg has cast acting newcomer Ruby Barnhill to play the lead female role in his upcoming adaptation of Roald Dahl's The Bfg.

The British actress will make her feature film debut as Sophie, a young girl who teams up with the Queen of England and the Big Friendly Giant (aka Bfg) to fight off a group of man-eating giants threatening the human world.

A statement from Spielberg reads, "After a lengthy search, I feel Roald Dahl himself would have found Ruby every bit as marvellous as we do. We have discovered a wonderful Sophie in Ruby Barnhill."

Barnhill adds, "I feel incredibly lucky and I'm so happy. Sophie gets to go on this wonderful adventure and I'm so excited that I get to play her."

Production is slated to begin next year (15) and the film will hit theatres in July, 2016.

This isn't the first screen adaptation of the 1982 novel - an animated Tv movie featuring the voices of British actors David Jason and Amanda Root as The Bfg and Sophie, respectively, was released in 1989.