'Salt' Director Phillip Noyce Now in Talks to Adapt 'The Giver' Novel
Yes, this is the story of yet another young adult novel being adapted into a movie, but this one thankfully is not trying to capitalize on the success of Twilight or The Hunger Games. Jeff Bridges purchased the rights to Lois Lowry's 1993 novel The Giver twenty years ago as a starring vehicle for his father Lloyd, and has been trying to get it made ever since. The project looked like it might move forward in 2007, and then in 2011 the actor decided that he would step in and play the title character. Now Variety reports the project may have found a director, as Salt helmer Phillip Noyce is in talks to sit in the director's chair. Read on.
The story in Lois Lowry's book follows a twelve year old boy named Jonas who lives in a seemingly perfect community without war, pain, suffering, or choice. Everyone is assigned careers at a young age, and when Jonas gets his assignment to become the next "giver," he must meet the current one (to be played by Jeff Bridges), an elderly man who is the only in the community who can open the boy's eyes to the true pain and pleasure of the "real" world. The Newbery Medal-winning book was required reading in school when I was growing up, so there is definitely a built-in audience out there who is already familiar with the property.
And though I originally mentioned the project wasn't necessarily trying to capitalize on the recent string of young adult successes, that doesn't mean they wouldn't be open to sequels if the first one is successful. Lowry has written three other books in The Giver series, two of them (Gathering Blue and Messenger) which are loosely related to the original, and then the recently-published Son which came out this year and ties all four of the books together. The writing's on the wall for this one: easy franchise potential.
Noyce is still currently in early negotiations to direct, but he's an interesting choice for this, considering he's built his career on action films like Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger and, if memory serves, there isn't much action in The Giver. But with Bridges both starring and producing here, this is as much a passion project of his as it is for any director, so we'll see how much influence he exerts over the final cut. There's no start date yet, but with The Weinstein Company and Walden Media partnering to bring it to the big screen and a director officially lined-up, hopefully we won't have to wait much longer. Thoughts?