**I received an all expense paid trip thanks to Disney. All my opinions are my own and not swayed by outside sources.*
Disney’s The BFG was just released on DVD this past Tuesday. Did you all pick it up? If not, what are you waiting for?! This is such a telling and beautiful story. Now you can own this classic and have it for years to come, to tell the story from generation to generation.
To recap, the story follows the journey of Sophie (played by Ruby Barnhill) as she is taken one night from the orphanage by The BFG (played by Mark Rylance). This 24 foot tall giant with enormous ears sweeps her up one night because she caught a glimpse of him. Being the dream catcher he is, no one could see him, so The BFG is forced with the decision to take him. They end up in Giant Country where she is frightened upon the sight of him and all of the monstrous looking giants. However she soon realizes he is exactly what his title is, a friendly giant, and they form the most unlikely friendship. Together they end up fighting obstacles together and saving the people of England from getting eaten from the horrible giants living in Giant Country. This is a story of perseverance, friendship, and most of all believing in yourself.
The Big Friendly Giant (The BFG) is written by the outstanding author, Roald Dahl. While he has written 19 children books, one of his favorite characters was The BFG. Lucky for us, his daughter was able to interview with us about the upcoming The BFG DVD! While Roald Dahl did die in 1990, his legacy lives on through his wonderful work and his children. Thankfully we were able to learn so much more about him through his daughter, Lucy Dahl. It was such a pleasure to interview Lucy and I hope you enjoy the interview as much as we all did that day!
About Lucy Dahl:
Lucy Dahl is the youngest daughter of Roald Dahl and Patricia Neal. She is a writer, a screenwriter and a producer. She wrote the teen comedy Wild Child, starring Emma Roberts, Aiden Quinn, Alex Pettifer and Natasha Richardson. She is currently writing and creating a new comedy for TV, as well as executive producing a TV adaptation of one of her father’s stories.
Lucy divides her time between East and West coasts, and has two children, Phoebe and Chloe, and two dogs, Thelma and Lola.
My Interview with Lucy Dahl:
Question 1: Is there in a scene in the film that was a favorite section of the book for you?
“Yes. Can I preface something by telling you a little bit about the BFG and me? So it was really amazing growing up with Roald Dahl as my dad because everything was a fairy tale. We were sort of lab rats so to speak, so he would test his ideas and his characters and people on us, although we didn’t know it at the time. We just thought that we were getting great stories and he created this whole sort of kingdom of where we lived.”
She told us it was similar to living at Disneyland for a long time. They had an old rambling house in Bingham that they loved but they did not have a lot of money growing up.
“My father worked very, very hard to get us through school. My mum was always working in America, but back to focus on the BFG, and what he means to me. He lived under our apple orchards which was beyond our garden, and every single night, he would blow dreams into my sister and my bedroom. My dad would tell us a story about some idea he was brewing. Sometimes it was about the BFG, sometimes it was about some other thing that he was thinking about.”
“We didn’t know this at the time. We just thought it was a story and then even in the middle of winter, even if it was snowing outside or blizzarding, or whatever, we would always have to leave our little old bedroom window open a crack and our bedroom was tiny. Ophelia, Ophelia’s the name of my sister. She’s fifteen months older than me and our bedroom was really no, smaller than this book shelf, the width of this bookshelf and about this big. Anyway, so after he told us a story, he would say goodnight, and we would lay there and we would wait for the BFG to come and blow dreams into our room and sure enough, it would happen.
“And then it would go this way and I would get my dreams and then it would retract. This was like this for years and years and years while we were young growing up and then when we got to age where we thought that maybe, when our friends started to say there’s no such thing as the BFG, as they do, we questioned. Dad, and Dad said, you mustn’t, the minute you stop believing in magic, it will never happen and it also must have worried him tremendously because the next morning when we woke up, he made a thing on the lawn that the BFG was there.”
She told us her dad always told us how important it is to believe in The BFG!
Question 2: What was your favorite meal?
She told us she was so excited for truffle season to start. She is a HUGE foodie. She then told us about her childhood foods.
“We would go get the milk and sometimes there were a little, bowl or teenny, weenie little eggs. Now I know they’re quail eggs, but he said that the MinPins which is another story that he wrote, little people that lived in our woods beyond the orchard. That the MinPins had delivered eggs to us overnight and sometimes there were big eggs, duck eggs. Now I know they’re duck eggs, but they were BFG eggs.”
“And what Dad would do is once a week he would go to London and go to the Harrod’s food halls because we didn’t have specialty shops then, where you can get this stuff now, and he would go and get all these wonderful things and he would make them into things we can use our imagination with. The way that he would cook them was take some bread and cut it, and now it’s sort of in cookbooks everywhere, but cut a hole in it. And fry it and break the little quail egg into it. It was delicious. “
“And also things like red cabbage was. Everything came from somewhere. Everything that most children don’t like to eat came from somewhere fabulous, like red cabbage was delivered the day before by a footman from Buckingham Palace, sent by the Queen and so you’d eat it.”
It was so endearing hearing her talk about her dad and all their imaginative food stories when they were younger. You can tell that there was a tremendous bond between them!
Question 3: Are you a food writer?
She told us she has written for Zester Daily and also for Amy Ephron’s blog, One For The Table.
Question 4: What parts of the book are not in the film that you would have liked to see included?
“Well, it’s kind of the other way around. There was no Giant Land in BFG’s story, so when it became a book and the BFG didn’t live under our orchard, he lived in Giant land, I didn’t like that. Just like, no, that’s not the way that goes. But I was actually a little offended when he put our childhood story into a book because he was my BFG and Ophelia’s BFG and nobody else’s and you don’t really want to share.”
She then told us the experience was awesome!
“And it was really incredible and I loved being on the set. Steven Spielberg treated me, honestly, like a queen which I didn’t expect. I thought he’d just be like, hey, nice to meet you and get on with his work.”
“He literally took me with him all day everywhere he went and showed me everything and it was really the most incredible experience ever, but the thing that I didn’t like was Giant Land that was over there and on the set because it wasn’t true, but everything else was so true to how it was in my imagination and in my mind. That was just incredible. It was, I felt really like my father was walking around with me around the set as delighted as I was.”
Question 4: Are the giant scenes in the book sadder than in the movie?
“They had to make it so kids don’t go screaming out of the theater. I remember when I was a child, and I saw The Wizard of Oz, I remember running out of the theater in absolute floods of fearful tears when I saw the Wicked Witch of the West. I think you have to be careful there.”
Question 5: What part of the book were you excited to see come alive in the film?
“That is a dream land. Dream Land. When Sophie goes into Dream Land, that three or four seconds is just extraordinary, that’s my favorite. I could watch that again and again and again and again and again.”
Question 6: Was it like you imagined it would be?
“It was exactly how I had imagined it and I think that’s probably why I love it so much. Steven took a great deal of trouble in getting the BFG right. These shoes are a copy of a pair of my father’s sandals that he used to wear every summer. His, the BFG’s clothes are copies of my father’s clothes from his cupboard that we still have.”
“My father based him a little bit on himself and a little bit on our great family friend who weren’t posh, so we didn’t have gardeners and things like that, but there was this man called Wally, Wally Saunders, who worked for my grandmother and he was a country man and he worked, in our garden helping dad and he would help dad drive us to and from school.”
Question 7: Did your dad ever use stories to get you to behave?
“He never wanted us to behave. He would actually help us plot and plan naughty things to do because he said that well behaved children were boring, but the trick was to never get caught, so that’s actually one thing about my father that I haven’t used in my own mothering. It is a fine when you’re four, five, six, seven, eight and then you get to be a teenager and you have that programming to just don’t get caught it’s not so good. He used to help us do all kinds of things.”
“He would help us write funny rhymes and limericks about the teachers at school. There was a girl called Lizzy and she was a bully on the bus and she used to do, she really was a bully. She was horrible. Anyway, she used to take our snacks.
She made us all open up our bag and she would take whatever she wanted and we were all terrified of her and eventually we told Dad and he went up to his house and he came back and he’d wrote this little rhyme and he said I want you to teach this to everybody on the bus except for Lizzy and next time Lizzy starts to make you open your bags, I want everybody on the bus to sing this song.”
It was a really lovely interview that day! She was so enchanting, personable, and friendly! I guess he learned all of that from her amazing dad!
Be sure to pick up The BFG today on Digital HD, Blu-ray™, Disney Movies Anywhere, DVD and On-Demand!