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What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Cautiously Optimistic

According to Lois Lowry, The Giver Movie is On Its Way, Complete With Jeff Bridges

These days, it seems like Hollywood has finally discovered that dystopian young adult fiction is a trend that can make bunches at the box office, thanks to The Hunger Games. We can also look forward to The Host and the long awaited advent of a big budget Ender’s Game adaptation. But older young adults in their twenties and thirties can sit around saying “In my day, we walked fifteen miles to the library to pick up copies of Garth Nix‘s Shade’s Children and Lois Lowry‘s The Giver. And then we wrote our book reports with pencil and paper! And then gave it to our parents to spellcheck!”

But I actually had The Giver read to me at bedtime before I was ever assigned it in school, so I guess I have the most hipster dystopian YA cred of all.

For the uninitiated, The Giver is the story of the twelve-year-old Jonas, set in a society where all the citizens are stripped of the ability to feel strong emotions. Marriages are mathematically arranged, children are born to artificially inseminated mothers whose jobs, chosen at the age of twelve, are to have babies that will then be adopted out to families. Jonas’ job is to become the next Giver, a mysterious patriarchal figure who literally holds the collective memories of their culture, the ones too violent or emotional for the average citizen to deal with an maintain their assigned place in society.

Just a few months ago, Lowry was despairing that she’d ever see a movie get made and refusing to let herself get excited by the possibility of a Bridges production getting off the ground in case things fell through. This week, though, she told NPR’s Studio 360 that things were going ahead:

I’ve just heard within the past couple of days that The Giver, which they’ve been trying to make into a movie for 15 years, is finally on the road,” she told [Kurt] Andersen. “Things have racheted up, and they have producers and money and a director and a star. They hope to start shooting it in the spring.” Jeff Bridges will play the Giver, the powerful elder who holds all of his community’s memories. “As we speak,” Lowry said, “they’re interviewing young boy actors for the role of Jonas,” the 12-year-old who is chosen as the Receiver of those memories, and learns the appalling secrets behind his community’s orderly, peaceful way of life.

The Giver has been enshrined in the hearts of many children, and in the syllabuses of educators trying to keep kids reading as they get older. However, bringing the book to screen, despite adaptations for stage and opera, has been a long and rocky road, although it’s frequently shared this road with Jeff BridgesAccording to Studio 360, Bridges has been interested in the role of the Giver for his father since the book came out. Lloyd Bridges died in 1998, but we daresay that, nearly fifteen years later, Jeff has reached an age in which he could do the role justice.

(via NYPL on Tumblr.)

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  • Anonymous

    I literally have goosebumps from reading this article, for some reason. Normally, I loathe to see my favorite childhood books turned into movies, because they rarely meet expectations (Ella Enchanted, Tuck Everlasting…). But, I can totally see Jeff Bridges as the Giver. So, we shall see.

  • Taryn Chaykowski

    I had it read to me too! I was in the hospital at the time.

  • Lindsay Beaton

    This book is one of my favorites, ever. Jeff Bridges–I can see it. I’m with you. Please, gods of movie-making, do not ruin this.

  • Amanda C


    This is hands down one of my all-time favorite books, and it challenged so much about what I thought and assumed about society, choice, freedom, decisions, etc. But one of the things that caught me completely off guard was that there was no ability to see color, and Jonas’ flashes of the color red were some of his early indications of his ability to take on the role of Receiver. I had been assuming the entire time I read it that, of course, the world was in color, and I remember a huge shock when I realized that that was something that I had projected onto the world because of my own experiences, and went back and looked… no descriptions of color! My worry about the movie is that the absence of color would be obvious right away, and not carry the huge (for me, at least) impact it had in the books.

  • Tanya Mueller

    YAY! But also… isn’t the old man the Receiver? It’s Jonas who becomes the Giver, because he’s giving all these memories back… Sorry, geeking out a bit, but I’m very excited to know it will be a movie. I’ve been blown away by the book, though I can’t say I read it as a kid (so, no geek cred for me here ^_^ )

  • Anne Sauer

    I have the same concern–it’s the first thing I thought of since I first heard about the possibility of a movie.

  • Robert Vary

    Nope, the old man is the Giver, who gives his memories to Jonas, the Receiver, in order to train Jonas to become the NEXT Giver.

  • Anonymous

    Well…..technically the old man’s title was still the Receiver. Jonas got the job of being the next Receiver, so during the book he’s just the Receiver in training. The title of the “Giver” was a name the old man gave himself after thinking briefly when Jonas asked what he should call him. The Giver was never an official title, and Jonas is never referred to as the Giver.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, I thought about that as well. They’ll have to make the movie in gray tones…which means the color reveals will have people going, “This is a rip-off of ‘Pleasantville’!”

  • Anonymous

    My fifth grade teacher read it to us, and I’ve read it countless times since. I remember being the only kid who knew right away what it meant for citizens to be “released” to “Elsewhere”. I had to keep quiet so as not to ruin the big reveal for the other kids.