In a post-apocalyptic society, where people live in peace and contentment, a boy (Jonas) is chosen to become the next receiver of the community's memories. With the receipt of those memories, Jonas is given the stark realization that his society is built on a lie, a lie which has subverted the full scope of human perception, feeling, and emotion. Confronted with a chance to change the lives of his family and his people, Jonas must decide whether a horrible truth is more important than a false life of contentment.
Based on a novel, written by Lois Lowry in 1993, "The Giver" is the first in a quartet of books about a dystopian future. In the book, Jonas is a 12 year old boy. As per the standard in Hollywood, the Jonas feature in the film adaptation will most likely be 17 or 18, allowing for the introduction of a formulaic love interest or situation, which is not present in the original text. Twenty-four year old Brenton Thwaites, most recently known for his role as Prince Phillip in "Maleficent," stars as Jonas.
Alongside Thwaites, "The Given" plays host to a number of acting veterans and rising stars, including Katie Holmes, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Taylor Swift, and "True Bloods" Alexander Skarsgård (Eric Northman). While Skarsgård gears up for his future role in the next Tarzan reboot (reported on Classicalite on the 21st), Bridges, Thwaites, Phillip Noyce (director), and Lois Lowry (author) are scheduled to appear at Comicon on Thursday the 24th to premiere exclusive footage from the upcoming film. On a side note, Jeff Bridges owns the development rights for "The Giver" and has been trying to develop the film for several years (Huffington Post) .
Despite the popularity of "The Giver" novels, for many years, the books were a source of controversy and discord amongst American schools. While some schools embraced the books and their tendency to address issues of racism, murder, and standing up to authority figures, other schools chose to ban Lowry's novels from the curriculum. After the release of the last book in "The Giver" quartet, Lowry said the following, in an interview with the Huffington Post.
"I don't set out with an agenda when I write a book. I create a character and want to tell a good story. With "The Giver," at the time [of writing] my father was very old and losing his memory, and I was interested in memory and how it works. And I thought, what if we could control human memory? Though I hadn't ever written science fiction before, I did set it in this hypothesized future time. And that was kind of fun, creating a whole different sort of world."
With Hollywood's tendency to play to the more vocal minority of middle America, let's hope that "The Giver" manages to maintain its own voice, concepts, and issues addressed in the original text. The film is set for release this August, on the 15th.