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Both Julianne Moore and Jeff Bridges have been involved with young-adult adaptations in the past. The Oscar-nominated (and, hopefully, soon-to-be Oscar-winning) actress plays President Coin in the Hunger Games franchise, while "The Dude" played the title role in The Giver. However, both were strongly rooted in the world of sci-fi, while their new joint film, Seventh Son, branches into the realm of hardcore fantasy. As the two celebs told me over an interview, however, there are some similarities in their approach.
Seventh Son is based on the YA novel series The Spook’s Apprentice, aka The Wardstone Chronicles, which sees a medieval world riddled with darkness, from the least lethal (disjointed spirits) to the most dangerous wielders of magic (witches). In an attempt to rid the world of evil, select individuals bearing the necessary markers are trained to become "Spooks," aka fighters of darkness. Obviously, this is nothing like The Hunger Games, but according to Bridges and Moore, the process is similar.
As Bridges stated, "The challenge for all the movies is finding the right tone," whether it’s getting into the dark and gritty nature of the war-torn Panem or ramping up the comedy factor in Seventh Son. Similar to the challenges with their previous YA genre work, Moore added that you also have to make connections to these characters, no matter how fantastical their environments might be, and make them and their situations believable for audiences. Katniss, for one, has grown beyond the borders of her franchise to become a symbol of strength and perseverance for young girls everywhere.
Elsewhere, I had the opportunity to speak with Ben Barnes, who plays the leading role of the young Spook in training, Tom Ward. As we talked about, Seventh Son attempts to break from its YA genre molding with references to classic fantasy films. The actor, who also has experience in a fantasy film pegged to a younger crowd, The Chronicles of Narnia, described the film as Sinbad-esque, with similar themes of fate vs. free will that permeate throughout older films. Though, the special effects and overall "technical prowess" help make Seventh Son more modern.
Much like Jupiter Ascending, which is another fantasy/sci-fi film offering coming out in theaters this week, Seventh Son was pushed back from its original release date. Although, its delay was more surprising, given that Bridges and Barnes accompanied their co-star Kit Harington to Comic-Con back in 2013 to promote the film for a 2014 release. It also had a full trailer online during that time, and now it’s finally hitting theaters almost three years after principal photography went before cameras. Despite this set back, the cast hopes that the film will strike a tone with audiences and fans of the original book.