Legendary film director Steven Spielberg is set to direct an adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic children's book The BFG, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Dahl's tale of a Big Friendly Giant who strikes up a friendship with a young orphan girl was first published in 1982 and was famously illustrated by Dahl's long-time collaborator Quentin Blake.

Dreamworks acquired the rights to adapt the story in 2011, with numerous directors attached before Spielberg expressed his interest.

Spielberg will shoot the film early next year but it may not be his next project. The Hollywood Reporter points out that he still has room to film a smaller project which would be the follow-up to 2012's biopic epic Lincoln.

This marks the first live action adaptation of the book, which had previously been turned into a made-for-television animated feature in 1989.

Reports had recently paired Spielberg with Tom Hanks for an untitled Cold War thriller based on a true story. Spielberg is on board as a producer and had been believed to be interested in directing, he may still – which would make it their fourth collaboration.

That Cold War thriller may be the smaller project he fits in before production on The BFG begins.

Spielberg has also been attached to Fox tentpole sci-fi Robopocalypse for some time but the fate of that production remains in doubt.

ET writer and apparent acronym-lover Melissa Mathison has written the script for BFG, and is no doubt hoping her and Spielberg's new movie can generate the same level of success as their 1982 classic.

The BFG will be released in 2016.