Jeff "The Dude" Bridges has been sitting atop the Lois Lowry maybe-movie mountain solo for quite some time now — he was self-cast as the titular lead for "The Giver" two years ago on the nose — but now he's gotten himself a little protégé to share all that bearded wisdom with on-screen.
Per Deadline, up-and-comer Brenton Thwaites, who'll next be seen as the young prince in Disney's "Maleficent," has been chosen to star as Jonas, a boy made to receive all the awesome and sometimes terrible information of the world, as the dystopian society he lives in has elected to shield all but one of its citizens of anything that might make 'em more than a content little cog in its well-greased machine.
For boy Jonas, the experience of downloading all the Giver's long-hidden intel is shocking and scintillating and all the other emotions he'd been unable to experience for so long. He'd never seen color red or snow or a pin-prick before, for crying out loud, so he's eating it up ... until the guilt and sense of societal mortality and existentialism set in and call to question his allegiance to this little Society of Sameness.
The book won the 1994 Newbery Medal, among several other accolades, and has been a much-emulated classic among futuristic Young Adult novels ever since its release. The adaptation, while slow going, has become a passion project of sorts for Jeff Bridges, as he'd originally purchased the adaptation rights to it for his father Lloyd Bridges to star in, but the elder Bridges passed away in 1998, before the film came to fruition. Bridges decided to step into the role himself, with the blessing of author Lowry, who calls him "the one I see in it."
It's worth noting that this is a pretty huge coup for Brenton Thwaites, who's name has been commonplace among the YA casting scene lately, to no prior avail. For one, he was named as one of the potential Fours for "Divergent" somewhere along the line (then again, who wasn't?), but apparently his cute little smile couldn't compete with what this "Golden Boy," Theo James was bringing to the table. 'Cause, um, hello!?
Also, Thwaites'd been in line to try for the lead in that other popular in-the-works YA adaptation, "The Fault In Our Stars." So, apparently, third time's a charm in his case!
It's worth noting that there's a teensy bit of a hissy fit going down among the Lowry faithful right now, as the character was 12 years old in the novel version and Thwaites is in his early twenties.
They are making THE GIVER into a #film. Brenton Thwaites has been cast as Jonas. Trouble is, Jonas is 11 years old. Thwaites is 24.
— Eric Daley (@Daleylife) July 3, 2013
@Brontella121 is Jonas (The Giver)! In the book, the character is eleven, but he is 24 :) aged up.
— Tris Roque-Eaton (@skemafrog_baliw) July 3, 2013
20something Brenton Thwaites being cast as the lead in #TheGiver would bother me more if he didn't look like this: pic.twitter.com/hQfzkcwSZV
— Kevin P. O'Keeffe (@kevinpokeeffe) July 3, 2013
There's always somethin' to gripe about when it comes to these things, though, so big whoop. The important thing is that this is finally, actually happening. Filming is expected to commence in South Africa this autumn.