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What you didn't know about Jeff Bridges' decades-long link to 'The Giver'

Academy Award-winning actor Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart") is not only an accomplished actor in his own right, but part of an acting dynasty that includes his father Lloyd Bridges ("Sea Hunt") and his older brother Beau Bridges ("Masters of Sex"). On Friday, Aug. 15, Jeff Bridge's latest film "The Giver" will be released into theaters. What may be a pleasant surprise is that this much-anticipated film, adapted from the popular young adult novel by Lois Lowry, has been a project that Jeff Bridges has been trying to bring to the big screen since 1994.

Jeff Bridges and Brenton Thwaites star in 'The Giver.'
Jeff Bridges and Brenton Thwaites star in 'The Giver.'
Photograph courtesy of The Weinstein Company and Walden Media
What you didn't know about Jeff Bridges decades-long link to 'The Giver.'
Poster artwork courtesy of The Weinstein Company

Twenty years ago, Bridges was looking for a project that he could direct his father, Lloyd Bridges, along with a storyline that would be appealing to a young audience. He started searching through a catalogue of children's books when he came along the cover of "The Giver," and knew instantly that his father could be that character. Bridges recalls, "I came across this wonderful cover of a book, with this old, grizzled kind of guy on the cover and thought, ‘Oh yeah, my dad can play that guy'!”

Bridges loved the book and felt that the story was just as likable for an adult audience as well. So enamored with the story, Bridges made an entire movie with his own video camera, starring his father Lloyd Bridges as the character The Giver and his nephew as Jonas.

For many years, Bridges and his manager Neil Koenigsberg tried to develop the project. It went through various forms of development, including the involvement with various directors and screenwriters. Bridges realized that the process of adapting a book for the big screen was more difficult than he imagined, because, as he said, " was such a successful book, I thought this will be a movie that will be easy to get made, but that proved not true!”

Fifteen years ago, producer Nikki Silver was able to purchase the rights to "The Giver." “I've always been a lover of children’s literature, especially young adult, and 'The Giver' is one of the prize pieces of children’s literature,” said Silver.

Once Silver owned the rights to "The Giver" she started working with Bridges, "Jeff had been involved up to the point that I came across the project and I immediately called him to ask if he still wanted do it. I got a resounding ‘yes’ – and from there it’s been a long journey for myself, Jeff and Neil.”

Along the process, Silver has kept in touch with the author of "The Giver," Lois Lowry. Silver adds, "She loved our vision of it and stayed with us, and here we are today, which is so exciting!”

Now, finally, "The Giver" is coming to your local theater. But with the passing of Lloyd Bridges in 1998, the part of the character The Giver will be played by his son Jeff. The film also boasts an all-star cast that includes Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift and Brenton Thwaites as Jonas.

"The Giver" will be put into a wide release on Friday, Aug. 15.

This is a "sponsored post," meaning the company who sponsored the article compensated me for writing the article. The opinions I have expressed, however, are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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