Now that Harry Potter and Twilight have wrapped up their film franchises, and with the success of The Hunger Games, Hollywood movie studios are always looking for a new young adult book series to adapt for the big screen. Author Lois Lowry’s young adult novel The Giver is next in line to get the big screen treatment. The novel is one of the most significant books of the ’90s, and while the book has become a staple of middle school education, the Newberry Award-winning young adult novel is finally making its way to a theater near you in 2014. There have been many attempts to bring it to theaters in the past, notably when Bill Cosby bought the film rights in the hopes of adapting the film in 1994. But now it seems certain that The Giver will finally have its day on the big screen: it is set to release on August 15, 2014.
Our sister site Cinema Blend reports that the film adaptation landed two Academy Award winning-actors in the form of Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart, Tron) and Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady). Bridges is set to play the titular character, The Giver, while Steep will play the film’s central villain of the book’s dystopian world, the Chief Elder. Australian actor Brenton Thwaites (Transformers: Age of Extinction) landed the main role as Jonas, the film’s hero, while Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood) plays Jonas’ father, and Cameron Monaghan (Showtime’s Shameless) will appear as Asher, Jonas’ best friend.
The Giver takes place in a world where the people think they live in a utopian society, but where all emotion, history, and color has been stricken from the world. When young boys and girls come of age, they are assigned permanent jobs and duties for the rest of their lives. The film will center on Jonas, a boy who is assigned to be the new Receiver of Memory, which is the world’s keeper of history. But when Jonas meets the former Receiver of Memory, who is also known as The Giver, his world is turned upside down when he learns about colors and emotions. As part of his new position, Jonas must keep his newly found knowledge a secret, so society can stay “utopian.”
Lois Lowry released the book in 1993 and was considered an instant classic upon its release. The Giver is compared to Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 in terms of themes, but written for children. It’s listed in the American Library Association’s Best Book for Young Adults list, and it also received accolades such as School Library Journal’s Best Book of the Year, the William Allen White Award, and the Regina Medal. The Giver is also considered one of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990 – 2000. Lowry won two Newberry Awards, one for The Giver and the other for Number the Stars in 1989.
The Giver film adaptation got the green light from The Weinstein Company in December 2012, with a release slated for summer 2014. As Cinema Blend points out, that’s strange considering that school children have summers off. It would seem like a good move for schools to take their students to as a field trip.