Of all the novels getting the big-screen treatment in 2014, arguably the most anticipated and indeed worrisome is Philip Noyce’s adaptation of Lois Lowry’s universally beloved 1993 children’s novel The Giver, which will be taking audiences into the world of Sameness this summer. We now have our first look at the film, featuring a bearded and sockless Jeff Bridges as the titular Giver as he is presumably blowing the mind of young Jonas, played by soon-to-be-everywhere Brenton Thwaites. Do these actors properly convey the characters you’ve pictured in your head for all these years? Does the Library of Memory have enough books in it?
Bridges doesn’t have quite the beard I thought he would, and obviously Thwaites is a few years older than the 12-year-old protagonist of Lowry’s novel, but everyone involved is quick to point out that this isn’t the most literal of adaptations. As Bridges tells EW, who first released these images, "The movie will not be an exact duplication of the book. It’s taking a lot of licenses." One of those changes is indeed shifting Jonas from a pre-pubescent lad to a 16-year-old handsome man, which allows for a brief flirtation with a young girl to turn into a full blown love affair. (Everyone’s mid-teens were filled with love affairs, right?)
But before everyone freaks out and calls B.S. on the whole project, Lowry was a driving influence throughout the production and worked closely with Bridges and Noyce to make sure even the more obvious changes remained faithful to the story. "I was happy to hear from Lois that she wasn’t so concerned about all the facts being the same as in the book," says Bridges, who has been trying to get a Giver adaptation made for almost two decades. It wasn’t until The Weinstein Company stepped in that the film finally got out of the pre-production stages, and recently wrapped filming in Cape Town. I have to wonder if this updated version of the tale would have been the same had it come into being back when Bridges first conceived it. Maybe with Macaulay Culkin as Jonas?
No reason to wonder, though, because Thwaites apparently nailed the part. Take a closer look at the actor in the image below.
Jonas is the center of the film, a young boy living in a world that is free from pain and sorrow, sanitized to the point of ennui. He is assigned to Bridges’ Giver to receive the memory of the entirety of history, both good and bad, and soon discovers the past events that led to society’s current blandness. The task then becomes escape, which also involves the newborn baby seen in the still above.
Let us know in the comments what you think of Thwaites as Jonas, and enter the Sameness when the film hits theaters on August 15.