This is a BFD: Steven Spielberg is directing a big-screen version of Roald Dahl’s children’s novel The BFG.

The filmmaker is joining forces with E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial screenwriter Melissa Mathison for the first time in more than 32 years to bring to life Dahl’s story of children-gobbling giants and the little girl who tries to stop them.

The BFG of the title refers to a “Big, Friendly Giant,” who joins forces with the little girl to stop his monstrous brethren. Also taking part in their quest: none other than the queen of England.

Dahl, author of James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, published the book in 1982. It was turned into an animated film in 1989, and has also been performed as a stage play.

Producer Kathleen Kennedy (another E.T. alum) brought the screen rights to Dreamworks in 2010. Her husband, Frank Marshall, will also produce, with Michael Siegel and John Madden, who are on board as executive producers.

Madden, best known for directing Shakespeare in Love, was originally set to direct The BFG, but backed out to make the sequel to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Production on The BFG will begin in the first quarter of 2015, with plans to release in mid-2016.

This will be Spielberg’s first directorial project since Lincoln. He was set to direct the sci-fi war saga Robopocalypse, but then put that film on hold to reconfigure the screenplay. He was also slated to direct the military drama American Sniper, but relinquished the reins of that to Clint Eastwood.