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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lois Lowry Says ‘The Giver’ Stays True To Spirit Of Her Book

The movie "The Giver" is directed by Phillip Noyce, and based on the 1993 novel of same name by Lois Lowry. Set to come out on August 15, it stars Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgård, Odeya Rush, Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift.

The movie “The Giver” is directed by Phillip Noyce, and based on the 1993 novel of same name by Lois Lowry. Set to come out on August 15, it stars Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgård, Odeya Rush, Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift.

Before the Hunger Games, before Divergent, before young adult dystopia became the next big thing, Lois Lowry published “The Giver.

It’s the story of a seemingly utopian society where there is no suffering, no pain, no hunger. But there is also no love or individual freedom, no color, no emotion. Spouses, children and jobs are assigned. Everything and everyone is the same.

Author Lois Lowry (left) and director Phillip Noyce attend 'The Giver' premiere at Ziegfeld Theater on August 11, 2014 in New York City. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Author Lois Lowry (left) and director Phillip Noyce attend ‘The Giver’ premiere at Ziegfeld Theater on August 11, 2014 in New York City. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

In this world, only one man holds all the memories and emotions of the past, until a young boy named Jonas is chosen to become the next person to receive those memories.

The book won the 1994 Newbery Medal, and to this day is deeply popular among kids and adults around the world. Now, 21 years after it was published, the first movie adaptation of “The Giver” is coming out.

“A book goes out there to a zillion different people and everyone reads a different book because they bring their own imaginations to it,” Lowry told Here & Now’s Robin Young. “This book is very introspective, very quiet. I hope [the film] will bring the original spirit of the book alive.”

The inspiration for the book came from observing her aging father. At the age of 92, he began to forget elements of his life, including Lowry’s sister, who passed away at a young age.

“I began to think, maybe that would be a good thing. To forget pain, to forget anguish,” Lowry said.

Phillip Noyce, who’s known for movies including “Clear and Present Danger” and “The Quiet American,” is directing the movie version of “The Giver.” Despite the fact this is the first film adaptation of the book, Noyce says it translated easily to the big screen.

“Lois writes very visually. You read a sequence and you can see it,” he said. “What we have tried to do is imagine what that world might look like if she had written it, say, a couple of years ago.”

Trailer: 'The Giver'


  • Lois Lowry, author of the book “The Giver” and dozens of other books, mostly for young adults. She tweets @LoisLowryWriter.
  • Phillip Noyce, director of the film adaptation of “The Giver” which comes out on Friday, August 15th.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Blue_To_Shoe

    Why is it that film after film, of this type of apocalyptic-light genre, the hero is always a young, boy band-looking, white male?

    • 2212

      Are you serious.

    • BattleOverride85

      do you even know what you’re talking about? Hunger Games 1 and 2= a young woman

      Divergent = a woman.

      so again…what are you even talking about?

      • Blue_To_Shoe

        First, yes…I am totally aware of the Hunger Games franchise & Divergent; fully being aware that the lead Protagonists are females when making my previous comment.

        Yes…I was wrong and should have specified this!

        However, one does need to admit that even though female, these characters still are ALL white in a genre that seems to unashamedly pander to white suburbanite females.
        Something not dissimilar to how ‘boy band’ culture also always seems to pander to young white suburbanite females.
        There is an extreme over-representation of young, handsome, white males, as ‘The chosen One’-types!

        I just never understood why so many female authors like Lois Lowry seem to make their protagonists male: JK Rowling could have created Harriet Potter!

        • Lisa

          The Giver is one of MANY books by Lois Lowry. Many if not the majority of her books have female protagonists. I’d love to see a good movie version of another of her children’s classics, Number the Stars, which is about the Danish rescue of Jews during WWII and stars a 10-year-old girl. As for why Harry wasn’t Harriet, remember it was written long before Hunger Games broke the “girls will read about boys, but boys won’t read about girls” conventional wisdom among publishers and marketers of children’s lit– as was The Giver. It’s an important plot point in the book version of The Giver, by the way, is that diversity has been intentionally eliminated in Jonas’s community. That aspect is one reason his community is dystopian.

          • Blue_To_Shoe

            I apologize.
            You know what?…you’re right: I’m not really familiar with Ms Lowry’s work – including “The Giver” – and should not have made such a blanket inference based on works that I am not personally aware of.

            Lois Lowry’s artistic expressions – like any other artist – at least deserves a full range of analytical awareness before any criticism can be lodged, let alone any that resides with such profound resonance as race.

            On the issue of Harry Potter vs. Harriet Potter…I agree, as a male, there is real criticism that males do not regard female protagonists as much as males is a problem that should be called out!
            Even moreso in the fact that females do not seem to have the same problem!
            I personally think that a lot of the Chauvinism that many males exhibit start with little things like this in childhood!

            But just because the ‘market’ doesn’t prefer a particular demographic doesn’t mean that artists should acquiesce.

        • BattleOverride85

          I’ve noticed, you turn EVERYTHING you comment on into a racial thing. Get over yourself. Not everything is a race thing. Your bigotry isn’t welcome here.

          • Blue_To_Shoe

            Your attempts to deflect from the basis of my assertions regarding this topic are not going to work with your reverse-racial psychological name calling and chiding.

            Anyone whom objectively analyzes my “HereAndNow” archive will see that I comment on everything from Zombie movie History to geo-political conflicts in the middle East!

            Race should be discussed whenever possible because we live in a racially-obsessive society; a society literally built upon subverting peoples of different races while benefiting from their labor in forming the Nation’s very infrastructure itself; it’s disingenuous to posit any other reality.

            I recently heard a discussion of Steven Soderberg’s new Cinemax period Medical drama “The Knick” from the show’s creators.
            Race is an apparent underpinning of the show.
            The apparent nature of American society being so racially obsessive that prominent Blacks had to go overseas to acquire work – and respect – commensurate with their professional status; and the show’s apparent reflection on the contradictions of a supposedly objective discipline (science) actually working to prove racial superiority/inferiority.

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