Today, “The Giver,” the movie, finally comes to theatres — 18 years after the film rights were first optioned.
Lowry told The New York Times Magazine‘s Jessica Gross about her involvement with bringing the popular book to the big screen:
The film rights were optioned probably 18 years ago, so this has been a very, very long process. My entire involvement is as an interloper, an onlooker, an opinion giver. I don’t have any contractual involvement, so they could have gone ahead and made it without consulting me at all, but they have been gracious about involving me.
But the 77-year-old author did have one crucial note for filmmakers:
I remember seeing the costume designs for the female lead, Fiona (Odeya Rush) — in the book she’s 12, and in the movie she’s 16. I advised them that some of the costumes were too sexy. And so the hem was dropped a little bit. I asked them: ‘Please don’t turn this into a teenage romance.’
Main character Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) is also aged in the film. In the book, Jonas is just 12 years old, but the character is age 16 in the movie — an alteration that co-star Jeff Bridges wasn’t initially comfortable with.
“When I heard that they were going to cast older people, I had to really decide, ‘Bon voyage’ and go our separate ways, or engage,” Bridges has said. “And I decided to do that (stay), even though I knew it wasn’t going to match my particular vision. I’m so glad that I did get on board.”
In the end, only three kisses are exchanged throughout the entire film and there is much less violence than in other young adult adaptations like “The Hunger Games” or “Divergent.”
Instead, “The Giver” tells the story of Jonas, who is chosen to learn from an elderly man (Jeff Bridges) about the true pain and pleasure of the “real” world outside of his seemingly utopian society.
Katie Holmes and Alexander Skarsgard play Jonas’ mother and father.
The film also stars Meryl Streep as “Chief Elder.” Lowry was so impressed with the actress’ performance that she said: “[Meryl] turns it into a complex character. I think they did a terrific job adding that level in. I wish I could go back and rewrite the book and expand that role.”
“The Giver” hit theatres on Friday.
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