Philip Noyce's The Giver, which arrives in theaters this August, might well be mistaken for another Hunger Games or Harry Potter-style YA replication. Actually, however, the adaptation of Lois Lowry's popular and critically-acclaimed young adult novel is something that actor Jeff Bridges has been working on for nearly two decades, way before the Katniss Everdeen's of this YA craze were introduced to our big-screens...
Expect big things.
In a recent interview, Bridges discussed how fans of Lois Lowry's The Giver might feel about the upcoming movie, and mentioned some of the changes that we might expect to see. Firstly, the actor told Entertainment Weekly that he "originally kind of balked at" the decision to make mysterious protagonist Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) - who becomes "The Receiver of Memory - 16-years-old instead of 12.
Personally, I'm worried about this decision. Changing the age of The Giver's main player so significantly could change the entire story. My guess is that by making the protagonist 16 instead of 12, director Noyce is looking to poach the YA fans that have become so accustomed to the likes of kick-ass Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and her rebellious teen ways. Not that that's a bad thing, of course. But I worry that if it becomes too action-oriented, then The Giver will be less about the incredible, touching narrative and more about Hollywood trying to make a quick buck.
What else will be different about the film? Bridges warned us fans who want a close adaptation of Lowry's work that:
The movie will not be an exact duplication of the book. It's taking a lot of licenses.
Bridges revealed that Meryl Streep's character will play a larger role than her character Chief Elder does in the book (hardly surprising since the woman's a bonafide A-lister) and that there will be more of a love story in the big-screen version.
In the book, the younger pubescent Jonas has a flirtation with a young girl of his age... That's almost a love affair in the film.
Hollywood... Always trying to romanticize something...
As long as the spirit of the story is there, I'm totally down with the changes that Noyce and The Weinstein Company are making to The Giver. I only hope that it all comes together without being overdone for a teen audience. We'll have to wait until next August to see how it turns out, but if you have never read Lois Lowry's heartbreaking science fiction novel, do yourself a solid and read it now. You are NEVER too old!