With the giant success of The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, and The Twilight Saga, The Weinstein Company is looking to cash in with a new young-adult movie adaptation. While Vampire Academy really didn’t do anything for the movie studio on a critical or commercial level, they’re giving it another go with a film adaptation of The Giver. Based on Lois Lowry’s best-selling novel, The Giver is a Newbery Award-winning piece of fiction and a staple of middle-school education in the United States. There have been many attempts to bring it to theaters in the past, notably when Bill Cosby bought the film rights, but The Weinstein Company won the rights for Lowry’s book in the end.
The trailer above is the first piece of footage released for The Giver, which centers on Jonas (Australian newcomer Brenton Thwaites), a boy who is assigned to be the new Receiver of Memory — the world’s keeper of history. But when Jonas meets the former Receiver of Memory, also known as the Giver, his world is turned upside down as he learns that life can be much more vibrant and rich. However, Jonas must keep his newfound knowledge a secret, so society can remain “Utopian” for all of its citizens.
The footage from the trailer looks good. It will be interesting to see if The Giver will be closer to The Hunger Games than something like The Host, but the talent involved with the film seems like a cut above. If we’ve learned anything from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, it’s that an all-star cast can elevate material on the big screen. The future technology featured in The Giver trailer looks pretty good too. While young-adult film adaptations like Divergent or Catching Fire take place in a post-apocalyptic world, it’s rare that we see any much future tech in their movies. The big question is: can the film’s lead, Brenton Thwaites, rise to the challenge of working with great actors like Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep?
Thwaites was passed over for Irish actor Jack Reynor in Transformers: Age of Extinction, so Thwaites moved on to The Giver instead. The Australian actor was one of the leads in the Australian teen drama SLiDE in 2011. He will also portray Price Phillip in Disney’s Maleficent later this year.
The Giver also features Alexander Skarsgard as Jonas’ father and Cameron Monaghan as Jonas’s best friend, Asher. Katie Holmes plays Jonas’ mother, a brainwashed citizen who believes that all rules should be followed, regardless of their nature, and country music recording artist Taylor Swift will play a girl named Rosemary, the last teenager mentored by The Giver before Jonas. Meryl Streep will play the Chief Elder, and Bridges revealed that the Academy Award-winning actress was his first choice for the role, and that she will take on a more significant role than in the book. The novel from author Lois Lowry is described as being in the vein of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.
The Giver will hit theaters everywhere on August 15, 2014.