"It was really amazing to know I was picked and it was an honor," Barnhill told ET during the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. "I'm sure there were hundreds of amazing younger actresses my age."
In the movie, Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies) provides the voice for the BFG (Big Friendly Giant). Based on the classic story by Roald Dahl, The BFG follows the titular character as he embarks on an adventure with a girl named Sophie (Barnhill). After being fearful of the BFG at first, Sophie is soon at ease when she learns that unlike the other giants, the BFG does not eat children. Together they come up with a plan to get rid of the other giants who have become increasingly bothersome.
It's the relationship between Sophie and the BFG which Spielberg insisted is the crux of the film.
"It really came to life when Mark and Ruby stepped into their parts," he told ET at the film's red carpet premiere. "That's when the movie started to live."
Prior to landing this breakout role, Barnhill starred in the BBC's children's drama, 4 O'Clock Club. Evidently acting runs in Barnhill's family. The Telegraph reports that her father, also an actor, makes a cameo in the movie.
And with Spielberg's track record, Barnhill could have a long career ahead of her. The three-time Oscar winner is also credited with discovering child stars like Drew Barrymore (E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial) and Christian Bale (Empire of the Sun), just to name a few.