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'The Giver': Black and white footage and a word from Lois Lowry -- VIDEO

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Remember when we all freaked out that the first trailer for The Giver was in color? Well, a new featurette reveals that we may have jumped to conclusions too quickly.

“I began to think about how important memory is – what would happen if we could manipulate human memory,” author Lois Lowry explains in the video which goes a long way in helping to calm the nerves of longtime fans of her 1993 classic.

Then, we get the money shot of Jeff Bridges as The Giver in black and white preparing to give Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) all the memories of humanity. “You can take comfort in knowing you are completely helpless,” he says.

Check it out after the jump.

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'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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Taylor Swift will co-star in long-awaited adaptation of 'The Giver'

After more than 15 years of development hell, a film adaptation of Lois Lowry’s Newbery-winning 1993 novel The Giver will finally begin production next month — with singer Taylor Swift in one of its supporting roles.

The Weinstein Company announced Swift’s casting today in a release that also names the rest of the film’s principals, many of whom have been attached to The Giver for months. They include Australian actor Brenton Thwaites as Jonas, a boy living in a colorless dystopian world; Jeff Bridges as The Giver, Jonas’s mentor (as well as one of the film’s producers); Meryl Streep as the Chief Elder of Jonas’s community; Katie Holmes as Jonas’s mother; Alexander Skarsgard as Jonas’s father; Cameron Monaghan as Jonas’s best friend Asher; and Odeye Rush as Jonas’s friend and love interest Fiona.

TWC tells EW that Swift will play Rosemary, the last teen mentored by The Giver before he meets Jonas.

Salt helmer Phil Noyce will direct the film, with a screenplay by The Current War scribe Michael Mitnick. Production begins Oct. 7 in Cape Town, South Africa. Its release date has been set for August 15, 2014.

Casting Net: 'Fruitvale Station' star Michael B. Jordan in talks for 'Independence Day' sequel; Plus, Christoph Waltz, more

• Michael B. Jordan, who broke out this year with his role in the critical favorite Fruitvale Station, is reportedly being eyed for a role in the sequel to 1996′s Independence Day, ID Forever Part 1which takes place 20 years after the first film. Currently on the schedule for a July 3, 2015 release, the Roland Emmerich-directed sequel will likely find Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman reprising their roles from the original. [The Wrap]

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Casting Net: Robert Pattinson and Dane DeHaan plan a road trip; Plus, Cate Blanchett and more

• Robert Pattinson (Twilight) and Dane DeHaan (The Place Beyond the Pines) are set to star in Life, which tells the story of Magnum photographer Dennis Stock (Pattinson) and his burgeoning friendship with James Dean (DeHaan) as they embark on a road trip on assignment for Life magazine in 1955. Music video and feature director Anton Corbijn (The American, Control) is helming the project from a screenplay by Luke Davies, who penned 2006′s Candy. The shoot is expected to begin this February in Canada. [ScreenDaily]
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Casting Net: Meryl Streep in talks to join 'The Giver,' set to reunite with Robert De Niro; Plus more

You know filmmakers mean business when they cast two Oscar winners to star in their adaptation of a best-seller. Meryl Streep is set to star as Hildy Good, the main character of Ann Leary’s The Good House. Hildy is a grandmother, a real-estate broker, and an alcoholic. The book is set a year after her family tried to intervene, when Hildy starts to immerse herself in the sordid secrets of her Massachusetts town as she befriends, and then tries to protect, a younger transplant named Rebecca, who has yet to be cast. Robert De Niro, who starred with Streep in The Deer Hunter, Falling in Love, and Marvin’s Room, will play Frank, a fellow resident of the town who Hildy reconnects with. Michael Cunningham (The Hours) is writing the adaptation, and there is currently no director attached. [Deadline]

• Streep is also in talks to join Jeff Bridges in the adaptation of The Giver, where she’d play the part of the Chief Elder. Bridges plays The Giver and relative unknown Brenton Thwaites will play Jonas in the big screen take on Lois Lowry’s new classic. Production is expected to begin in South Africa in two months, with Phil Noyce directing. [Deadline]

• In more Giver news, Alexander Skarsgård (The East) and Cameron Monaghan (Click) may be joining the cast as well, as Jonas’ father and best friend, respectively. [The Wrap]
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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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Jeff Bridges' movie adaptation of 'The Giver' -- will it ever happen? Lois Lowry says...

Fans of canonical children’s book The Giver were torn when word broke last year that Jeff Bridges’ big screen adaptation of the novel was finally moving forward in the development process. On one hand, Bridges’ twinkly eyes and grizzled wisdom make him a natural fit for the titular role; on the other, The Giver‘s unique, simple charms may not translate well to celluloid. But one year later, those who felt ambivalent may no longer have to worry that Hollywood will ruin their favorite story — Giver author Lois Lowry doubts that the long-incubating film will ever get made at all.

“The film rights have been out there for 15 years now,” Lowry tells EW. “And every now and then, some big studio gets involved, and some major player gets involved. And then time passes, and it all collapses again,” she says with a laugh. “So it’s out there, and I should be feeling excited, as if now is the time it’s actually going to be made. But this has happened so often before that I’ve become kind of sanguine about it.”

So why does Lowry think that the book has languished in development longer than its protagonist, 12-year-old Jonas, has been alive?  READ FULL STORY

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