The Giver Adaptation Signs Maleficent Star To Join Jeff Bridges

When I was a kid and read Lois Lowry's magnificent, award-winning novel The Giver for the first time, I immediately wanted to see someone make a film adaptation. Not only is it an absolutely brilliant work of dystopian fiction, it comes with its own fantastic built-in visual style, as most of the story's characters can only see in black and white. I was far from the only one who saw great potential for the book for the film world, as studios have been trying to adapt it since it came out in the early 90s - but now we are closer than ever to seeing it actually get made. The pieces of the puzzle have been taking their sweet time to come together, with Jeff Bridges signing on to both produce and star in the movie back in 2011, and director Philip Noyce coming aboard last November, but now another important item has been checked off the to-do list: the production has found its lead.

Brenton Thwaites, who hails from Australia and will soon get his breakout opportunity starring alongside Angelina Jolie in Disney's Maleficent, has reportedly risen above all of his competition and has landed the protagonist role in The Giver, according to The Wrap. The site says that some of Hollywood's brightest young acting talent went out for the role. including Kings of Summer's Nick Robinson, Mud's Tye Sheridan and Prisoners' Dylan Minnette, but that Thwaites ended up being the top choice.

First released in 1993, the story is set in another world where all emotions, history and freedom has been expunged. Thwaites will play the role of Jonas, a young man who, when assigned a profession, is given the important yet painful job of being the society's Receiver of Memories. The new position sees him cut off from everyone he knows and he is mentored by the former Receiver of Memories, known as The Giver (Bridges). As Jonas and The Giver work together the young man's eyes are opened to the lies that the society is built upon.

While a film version of The Giver has never managed to come together, the story has been adapted both as a one-hour stage adaptation, a full play, and even an opera. The Wrap says that Bridges purchased the rights to the story over two decades ago and has been working to make a film version since. And that time could possibly be coming very soon. Provided that everything goes as it should over the next few months, the site offers the possibility that production could start this fall in South Africa, possibly opening the movie for the chance at a late 2014 release. Noyce, who is also Australian, last directed 2010's Salt (coincidentally starring Jolie).

Thwaites got his start on Australian television, first appearing on the 2011 series SLiDE and then moving to the long-running soap opera Home and Away. Maleficent, which is directed by Robert Stromberg and also stars Juno Temple, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley and Miranda Richardson, will be in theaters July 2, 2014.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.