Your Favorite Dystopian Future YA Novel Is Coming to the Big Screen

And no, this isn’t a post about the Hunger Games sequels. It’s about Lois Lowry’s 1993 classic The Giver, which was probably your first favorite dystopian future YA novel, which may be finally on a path to a theater near you. The novel, which centers on a young boy named Jonas, who lives in a utopian society and is assigned as the reciever of the community’s memories, has been the subject of possible film adapation for nearly two decades, beginning in 1994 when Bill Cosby and ASIS Media bought the rights to the film. Walden Media, the company behind the recent Chronicles of Narnia films, also was slated for an adaptation at some point. But now author Lowry has confirmed in an interview with Studio 360’s Kurt Andersen that yep, this time it’s actually happening. 

“I’ve just heard within the past couple of days that The Giver, which they’ve been trying to make into a movie for 15 years, is finally on the road,” Lowry told Andersen in the interview, which will air in full on January 4th. “Things have racheted up, and they have producers and money and a director and a star. They hope to start shooting it in the spring.” 

The star in question is Jeff Bridges, who has been a part of the conversation around a movie version of The Giver since the ’90s (remember them?) and who initially wanted to produce the film and have his late father, Lloyd Bridges, star as "The Giver," the community’s previous Reciever of Memory who must give the community’s memories to Jonas. Dystopian youth-lit has been big for a couple of years now, and if a series about teenagers murdering each other for spectacle can take off and become wildly successful and get the young people to read and think, then gosh darn it, it’s as good of a time as any to revisit The Giver and feel those same feelings you felt reading it the first time. Bridges as The Giver works too—the grizzled, seen-too-many-things look he cultivated for True Grit was just practice. A director hasn’t been confirmed, but Philip Noyce (Salt, The Quiet American) and scriptwriter Vadim Perelman (House of Sand and Fog) are two names that have been cycling ’round the film blogs. 

Five Of Your Favorite Novels Head To The Big Screen in 2013

With a slew of new page-to-popcorn films in the works, here’s a look at what will be making its way onto the silver screen next year.

THÉRÈSE

French writer Émile Zola’s novel-turned-play Thérèse Raquin has been adapted for the screen many times, but this December we’ll get a taste of director Charlie Stratton’s take on the haunting classic. The psychological tale of affaires de coeur and betrayal centers on Thérèse, a young woman forcibly married to her first cousin, who soon begins a turbulent affair with her husband’s friend. After the lovers conspire to murder her husband, they find themselves haunted by his ghost as their love turns to fiery rage. Elizabeth Olsen takes the reins as Thérèse, with Jessica Lange, Tom Felton, and Oscar Isaac adding to the cast of tortured characters.

CARRIE

After Brian De Palma released his cult-classic adaptation of Stephen King’s novel in 1976, who knew there needed to be another one? But as Hollywood is wont to do, audiences are in store for a new spin on the bloody story of a shy high school outcast who taps into her newly discovered telekinetic powers to exact revenge on her bullying schoolmates. Helmed by Boys Don’t Cry director Kimberly Peirce, the film stars budding ingénue Chloë Grace Moretz in the titular role alongside Julianne Moore and Judy Greer in the new adaptation of one of the most frequently banned books in the U.S.

THE GREAT GATSBY

Like a boat against the current “borne back ceaselessly into the past,” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most celebrated work of obsession and tragedy will make its way to the screen once again this spring. The long-awaited adaptation will reunite director Baz Luhrmann with Leonardo DiCaprio, as Gatsby, and stars Carey Mulligan as his unattainable love, Daisy. After being pushed from its December release to May, anticipation for the film has only increased, with audiences wondering just what Luhrmann’s theatrical aesthetic will add to the beloved tale.

THE SEVENTH SON

Adapted from Joseph Delaney’s 2004 children’s novel, The Spook’s Apprentice, this 18th Century adventure film centers around a mystical young boy, Thomas, who becomes an apprentice to the local Spook (a cloaked man who travels the country fighting evil spirits for those who cannot) in order to learn the supernatural trade. Directed by Sergei Bodrov, the film will star The Chronicles of Narnia’s Ben Barnes in the lead role, with Julianne Moore as a cannibalistic, mischievous witch named Mother Malkin. Jeff Bridges and Alicia Vikander also join the cast.

ENDER’S GAME

Orson Scott Card’s science fiction thriller has been inching its way to the screen for years. First published in 1977 as a short story, the futuristic tale of alien warfare and adventure is set to hit theaters in November. Featuring Hugo’s Asa Butterfield and Little Miss Sunshine’s Abigail Breslin, the film tells the story of a gifted boy sent to a space-based military school to prepare for an alien invasion. The sci-fi classic will be directed by actor/director Gavin Hood, who leads Hollywood veterans Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley into the dystopian future.

‘Our Idiot Brother’ Trailer: Paul Rudd Does Jeff Bridges

The trailer for this summer’s upcoming Our Idiot Brother is here! It stars a remarkably hirsute Paul Rudd as a lazy stoner type who gets in trouble when he tries to sell pot to a uniformed cop. He has to depend on his comparatively stable sisters – Zooey Deschanel, Elizabeth Banks, and Emily Mortimer – while he gets back on his feet. At least, I think that’s what it’s supposed to be about. I was too distracted by Paul Rudd’s beard and Jesus hair to get a handle on the plot.

There’s something so lovable about these sweet, slow pothead types who are in every single comedy (especially of the Apatow variety) these days. The gold standard will always remain Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski, but this is probably a good step for Paul Rudd! He’s always having to play the straight man surrounded by comedic talent. It’ll be interesting to see how he handles a role where he’s the main attraction.

Links: Lydia Hearst to Parody Lindsay Lohan, Miley Cyrus Bong Not For Sale

● The socialite Lydia Hearst is all set to star in Dogs in Pocketbooks, based on “a spoiled brat prone to alcohol and cocaine binges, reckless driving, failed rehab attempts, career-ending partying and ruthless hangers-on” — a.k.a. Lindsay Lohan’s life — though the real Mommy Dina is threatening to sue. [TMZ] ● Justin Timberlake received Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals Man of the Year award, which is not — believe it or not — the same as an Oscar. [Popeater] ● Reese Witherspoon is engaged to Jim Toth, while Jake Gyllenhaal and Ryan Phillippe high-five and are like, “Haha, who?” [Us Weekly]

● The dude who owns the famed Miley Cyrus salvia bong is resisting encouragement to sell it “for at least a couple grand” because it has “sentimental value.” Bro. [TMZ] ● Speaking of bongs, an interviewer asked Jeff Bridges if he was high while accepting his Oscar last year. He giggled. Then he said, “No, man. No, no, I wasn’t high. No, man, no! Oh God. No, no, no, no.” [Vulture] ● Steve Hirsch, head of notorious porn company Vivid Entertainment, claims that if he came into possession of a Demi Lovato sex tape he would “give it back to her or destroy it” because he is a recovering addict too. [TMZ]

Jeff Bridges Talks ‘True Grit’ & the Future of ‘Lebowski’

Already riding high from an Oscar win earlier this year, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jeff Bridges’ stock dramatically spike again in December when both Tron Legacy (25/12) and the Coen Brothers’ True Grit (17/12) hit theaters. Call it the “geeks & geezers” double bill. The latter is, of course, a remake of the classic 1969 John Wayne vehicle, and Bridges told MTV News that he has high expectations. “I hope it’s going to be a great Western. You’ve got the Coen brothers — master filmmakers — doing a Western for the first time…to be a part of that was great.” Bridges also opened up about the possibility of a sequel to his first and still much-beloved collaboration with the Coens, The Big Lebowski.

Many of that film’s legions of super fans will doubtless be crestfallen to hear the news: “We talked about it occasionally, but no plans man, no plans,” Bridges said. “No, no, no, I don’t think it’s gonna happen.” I, for one, am heartened. I don’t think the peculiar alchemy of that film is something that can be repeated. A follow up would almost certainly compare unfavorably, and perhaps even retroactively discolor the first. Some films are meant to exist in and unto themselves. You need only watch one of the Psycho sequels to know that this is true.

Links: Terry Richardson Is a Pervert, Maybe; Joaquin Phoenix will be Edgar Allen Poe

● According to supermodel Rie Rasmussen, the photographer Terry Richardson — known equally by his affinity for young topless girls and images of his own penis — is some sort of a creep, abusing his power “to put young girls into compromising positions,” which might actually be what it says on his business card. [Page Six] ● New York City is using “younger and hipper-looking” undercover bureaucrats to bust people smoking in cool clubs, while Giuliani shakes his cane, Paterson enjoys the hot tub and Bloomberg counts his money. [NYT] ● Viral video alert: Andy Samberg strikes again, this time with Lonely Island’s “Boombox” featuring Julian Casablancas. Does this mean we get a new Strokes record? [Buzzfeed]

● Joaquin Phoenix’s career as a rapper/performance artist/Hollywood hater will all be forgotten as he returns to play Edgar Allen Poe and probably win an Oscar. [Yahoo!] ● The Dude abides and all that, and then he wins an Oscar — white Russians for everyone! Plus, 10 reasons why Jeff Bridges is awesome. [ABC] ● It seems the CIA might have dosed unsuspecting riders of the New York City subway in the 1950s with LSD. [NY Post]

Betting on Oscar

Most Oscar enthusiasts have likely participated in a betting pool at one point or another. It’s the sine qua non of a good Oscar party, and if you’re lucky (or smart, or both) you might walk away with a little extra scratch in your pocket. But let’s say you’re deep in debt, looking for a big score, and that $120 bucks you stand to win isn’t going to cut it. You need the sweet, sweet payoff of a high stakes bet, and fortunately there are plenty of bookmakers who are willing to accommodate you and all the other high rollers for whom gambling on the little gold men is a serious business. Sure it looks like Jeff Bridges is a lock for Best Actor, but as of right now a Jeremy Renner win pays 28 to 1.

If you’re wondering about the odds across the board, wonder no more. A quick trip to a site like EasyOdds.com shows the current payoffs at an array of different gambling venues. An odds-on favorite like Kathryn Bigelow for Best Director will only earn you 25 cents on the dollar, but a Best Picture win for a long-shot like A Serious Man (yeah, right) pays 200 to 1! Even if you aren’t looking to put your life saving on Christoph Waltz, the site is also useful for the casual better and/or Oscar party attendee. Wondering who to back on Sunday for a less glamorous category like best foreign film? The big spenders say White Ribbon. Best adapted screenplay? The smart money is on Up in the Air.

Jeff Bridges to Finally Get His Oscar Moment?

I’m eating crow today, having previously stated how bored I’ve become with Oscar speculation and now having another go at it. I guess I’m a slave to every new development, and the latest is that Jeff Bridges is suddenly getting talked about quite a lot as a Best Actor contender for his role in Crazy Heart. In what looks to be a cross between The Wrestler and Tender Mercies, Bridges plays Bad Blake, an self-destructive country & western singer trying to get his life back on track. The Dude’s already been nominated four times but never clinched it — something of an asset considering the Academy likes to give Oscars for careers (Russell Crowe, Tommy Lee Jones) just as much as individual performances. Trailer after the jump.

Looking at this, I’m favorably reminded of the underrated Rip Torn film, Payday, in which Torn plays a similarly off-the-rails country star. If you’ve never seen it, it’s well worth your time. Here’s a particularly cruel morsel: