Before dystopian fiction and YA trilogies became household terms--and a good 15 years before the The Hunger Games was published--there was The Giver (1993). The most influential children’s novel of the 1990s (10 million copies sold in 30 languages), Lois Lowry’s The Giver is about an engineered society of “sameness,” where everyone conforms to a set of rules and is seemingly content, until 12-year-old Jonas painfully discovers some pretty bleak secrets about his community. The HG and The Giver are both are set in dystopian societies and both are trilogies (The Giver is followed by Gathering Blue and Messenger--and in 2012, the 75-year-old Lowry wrote a bonus series finale, Son), but stylistically they are very different. HG author Suzanne Collins is like the the Dan Brown of the genre while Lowry is more like John le Carré.
Lowry won the Newberry Medal for The Giver in 1994, the same year actor Bill Cosby bought the rights to the novel and planned to make it into a movie. The project fell through as the production budget swelled. Warner Bros. bought the rights to the book too, $1 million for four years, but nothing happened. Now it’s in the hands of thriller/adventure director Phillip Noyce (Salt, The Bone Collector, Patriot Games), director/screenwriter Vadim Perelman who likes to write about survivors (House of Sand, The Life Before Her Eyes), with the versatile actor Jeff Bridges as The Giver, the elder of the community who mentors the disillusioned Jonas. No word yet on who will play Jonas. Who would you choose?
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