While an adaptation of Lois Lowry’s best-selling novel The Giver seems to fit into the larger trend of Hollywood turning every possible young adult title in existence into a movie, this one has a bit of a different story. The 1993 Newberry Medal-winner has become a staple of middle school education, and this isn’t the first attempt to bring it to the screen. Bill Cosby once purchased the rights, which now belong to the Weinstein Company. Following the first trailer, TWC has now released this new featurette.
This video starts off like a like one of those commercials that are all over prime time TV hawking some new drug to even out your mood swings. The key part of this new look at the film is what Lowry has to say about the origins of The Giver. Beginning with an initial idea about the importance of memory, she took that “what if” scenario and ran with it.
The story of The Giver centers around a young man named Jonas (Brenton Thwaites, Oculus) who lives in what, at first, appears to be a peaceful, if bland, utopia. Because we’re talking about a teen-centric dystopia here, you know that things are not always as they seem on the surface. When Jonas turns twelve—at least in the book, he looks significantly older in this footage—he gets his life job, inheriting the position of “Receiver of Memory.” This is the person who serves as a repository of the memories from the time before the “Sameness,” just in cast people need to review them in order to make decisions based on their past experiences. When he meets his predecessor, the Giver (Academy Award-winner Jeff Bridges), he learns the ugly truth behind the apparently ideal world, a history full of hypocrisy and lies. Faced with this new knowledge, Jonas must decide whether to tell the truth or keep his knowledge secret in order to preserve the peace.
Directed by Philip Noyce (Salt, Patriot Games), and all-star cast looks to elevate this above your standard YA fare. In addition to Bridges and Thwaites, the rest of the credits include names like Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgård, Katie Holmes, Odeya Rush, and Taylor Swift.
The Giver isn’t just some new-jack book that just hit in the last few years, trying to cash in on the ever increasing popularity of dystopian YA science fiction. This is a story that has been around for a while, that has stood the test of time and sold more than 10 million copies, and TWC seems to be banking on multiple generations of readers with fond memories of the title.
The Giver opens everywhere on August 15.