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'The Giver' actor Cameron Monaghan on Asher's expanded role, jamming with Jeff Bridges and Taylor Swift

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In Lois Lowry’s 1993 book The Giver, we meet Jonas’ best friend Asher. In their highly controlled world, his energy, tardiness, and carelessness with words often results in disciplinary measures. He’s important in illustrating the different ways the restrictive society affects various personalities, but he is very much a side character.

In the Phillip Noyce-directed adaptation of The Giver (out Aug. 15), however, besides being aged along with the other main characters, actor Cameron Monaghan says, his character “has definitely been expanded.” READ FULL STORY

'The Signal': Laurence Fishburne gives Brenton Thwaites the third degree in a hazmat suit -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

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Something strange is happening in the Southwest.

When a group of road-tripping MIT students on the hunt for a mysterious hacker venture into a particularly isolated desert stretch, everything goes dark. Nic (played by The Giver‘s Brenton Thwaites) eventually regains consciousness and finds himself bruised and disoriented. He’s a prisoner in a contained room, staring down a gravely serious, possibly menacing Laurence Fishburne. Also disconcerting? Fishburne is the only party in a protective hazmat suit.

Take a look at the ominous clip from director William Eubank’s stylish sci-fi mindbender after the jump. READ FULL STORY

'The Giver' trailer: Meryl Streep and Jeff Bridges go toe to toe -- VIDEO

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Let there be light (or color).

Jonas bursts out of his black-and-white world in the new trailer for The Giver, the YA film based on Lois Lowry’s beloved book. The clip may seem pretty dystopian paint by numbers (don’t question authority! etc.) — but, of course, Lowry wrote the book that all the others are borrowing from decades ago. Except in this version, Asher flies a plane. READ FULL STORY

'The Giver' trailer: Meryl Streep! Jeff Bridges! Color?! VIDEO

So this is how you finally make a movie of The Giver after more than 15 years of development hell: By aging up the characters, adding in awesome body-snatching spaceships, and setting the whole thing to a pounding score straight out of the Dystopian YA Handbook.

Lois Lowry’s classic story — one of the first modern dystopic tales written explicitly for a younger audience — takes place in a future where all of the unpleasant, messy aspects of life (war, pain, difference, feelings in general) have been wiped away. (In the book, even the concept of color has been erased… but perhaps because they feared scaring off today’s teens with black-and-white scenes, The Giver‘s team seems to have elected to ignore that part.)

Its main character is Jonas (newly turned 12 in the book, but here played by strapping 24-year-old Aussie Brenton Thwaites), a boy who is chosen to become the community’s new Receiver of Memory — the only person who can recall what life was like before Sameness descended. But as Jonas begins his training under the outgoing Receiver — a.k.a. The Giver (Jeff Bridges, who also produced the film) — he realizes everything his people lost when they elected to soften the world’s hard edges… and decides to take drastic action to change things for good.

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'The Giver': First Look at Jeff Bridges and Brenton Thwaites in Lois Lowry's classic

Jeff Bridges has been trying to make Lois Lowry’s 1993 classic The Giver into a film for nearly 20 years. In that time, his kids became adults, his father Lloyd, who he’d wanted to play the Giver, died, and he got rejection after rejection from everybody in town till Harvey Weinstein came along.

“He said, yeah let’s go man,” laughs Bridges, who took on the role of the Giver and is serving as a producer on the film (out Aug. 15), which recently wrapped its Cape Town shoot. Australian newcomer Brenton Thwaites plays 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 (pictured above in the Library of Memory — a set specifically constructed for the film on location in an old factory in Cape Town).

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Casting Net: Salma Hayek shows Pierce Brosnan 'How To Make Love Like an Englishman,' Plus; Lake Bell, more

• Salma Hayek (Frida) has joined the cast of the indie sex comedy How To Make Love Like An Englishman, about a hedonistic, romantic poetry professor at Cambridge (Pierce Brosnan) who questions his lifestyle after he meets the perfect woman (Hayek, of course). The only complicating factor is that he’s just impregnated her stepsister, a grad student played by Jessica Alba. Tom Vaughan (What Happens in Vegas, Starter for 10) is directing the comedy, which is slated to begin shooting this fall. [Deadline]

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Casting Net: 'The Giver' gets its Jonas; Plus, 'Veep' star heads to 'Inherent Vice,' more

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• It’s been a while since we’ve heard any news about the film adaptation of Lois Lowry’s dystopian novel The Giver, but things are moving forward. Jeff Bridges has been attached to the project for over a year to play the Giver, and now, Brenton Thwaites has been cast as Jonas, the young boy chosen to be trained by the Giver.  Thwaites has appeared on a number of Australian televisions show and is also portraying the Young Prince in Maleficent. Fans of the book will remember we meet Jonas just as he’s about to turn 12. Thwaites is already in his 20s. Phillip Noyce (Patriot Games) is set to direct the project for The Weinstein Company. Filming will commence in South Africa this fall. [Deadline]

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