First Look at Brenton Thwaites as Jonas in ‘The Giver’

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brentonthwaites-thegiver-012614Brenton Thwaites holds on to a baby in this first look still from the upcoming film The Giver.

Entertainment Weekly premiered the first two pics from the film this week and we get our first look at Jonas (Thwaites) and the Giver (Jeff Bridges). The film is set to release on August 15 and is based upon Lois Lowry’s classic novel.

According to EW, story follows Jonas, a boy living contentedly in a seemingly perfect community of sterilized, controlled “sameness” till he is assigned to receive all the memories of history — sublime and evil alike — from the Giver.

“The past is considered to be potentially polluting,” says director Phillip Noyce. “This is a world where complications are eliminated. Jonas himself goes on a journey as he finds out what’s missing. He starts to investigate what’s causing it. And that’s the beauty. That’s what makes the book so popular, it’s an investigation in ways of living.”

As with any book-to-movie adaptation, some things will not make it into the big screen version. “The movie will not be an exact duplication of the book. It’s taking a lot of licenses,” says Jeff Bridges. The Chief Elder (played by Meryl Streep, Bridges’ first choice for the role), for example, takes on a more significant role than in the book.

Also, Jonas has been aged up from 12 to 16. “I originally kind of balked at the idea of making the lead character older,” admits Bridges. Noyce was more on board, and says that their take is just another interpretation of Lowry’s world. The change also allowed them to heighten the stakes. “In the book, the younger pubescent Jonas has a flirtation with a young girl of his age. That’s almost a love affair in the film,” explains Noyce. Bridges came around too. “We were so lucky to have Thwaites play this role. He does a beautiful job,” he says.

Also, it’s good to know that Lois Lowry worked closely with Bridges and Noyce to ensure her vision is represented — right down to dressing the extras on set. “I was happy to hear from Lois that she wasn’t so concerned about all the facts being the same as in the book,” says Bridges. “The spirit of the story is there.”

We definitely can’t wait to see the film that also stars Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgard, Cameron Monaghan, Odeya Rush, Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift.

Check out the first two stills as well as pics of Brenton at Sundance this year for his upcoming film The Signal.