When you first hear that a book’s going to be adapted for the big screen, there’s always a certain amount of sadness that accompanies the news. A certain amount of passing rumination on the many various ways a story or its characters can be butchered to an unrecognizable degree (we’re looking at you, Luhrmann). A certain level of “Well, now Daniel Radcliffe just is Harry Potter and vice-versa, forever and ever.” But all that goes out the window when the realization that Jeff Bridges is going to portray “The Giver” hits. Yes, that “The Giver.” As in, the strange and enigmatic title character from Lois Lowry’s award-winning 1993 young adult novel, which we will all finally be able to enjoy in film form August 15.
For today’s twenty-somethings, and maybe for future twenty-somethings, too, “The Giver” was a staple in the young adult canon of assigned school literature. The futuristic setting of a dystopic world in which originality and difference is not only discouraged but eliminated is one that’s understandable for young people who themselves may be experiencing something similar in one way or another, and sympathetic characters like The Giver provide literary beacons of hope. Though there’s been talk of a potential film version since the mid-’90s, almost immediately after the book’s release, the first teasing trailer dropped just this morning — and boy does it look good.
For those who warmly recall the tale from childhood, the trailer’s first glimpse into the film version is filled with familiar images, only they’re populated by Hollywood stars. Bridges bought the rights and allegedly decided to play the eponymous character after his first choice for the role, his father, Lloyd, passed away. Other cast highlights include Taylor Swift as Rosemary, Alexander Skarsgard as Jonas’ father with Katie Holmes as his mother and — wait for it — Meryl Streep as the Chief Elder. If all this isn’t enough for you, www.receiveyourdestiny.org offers an added, eerie bonus.