'The Giver' movie adaptation, starring Jeff Bridges, casts the part of protagonist Jonas

The film adaptation of the classic children's novel by Lois Lowry recently cast actor Brenton Thwaites in the part of Jonas, a role for which some fans say he's too old.

Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
'The Giver' will star Jeff Bridges in the title role.

A movie adaptation of Lois Lowry’s classic children’s novel “The Giver” is slowly taking shape.

The film adaptation will star “Crazy Heart” actor Jeff Bridges as the Giver himself and, it was recently announced, actor Brenton Thwaites as Jonas, the protagonist of the novel.

According to the website The Wrap, “Salt” director Philip Noyce is directing the fillm. Screenwriter Vadim Perelman, who penned the screenplay for the 2003 film “House of Sand and Fog,” is adapting the book for the big screen.

“The Giver,” which was originally released in 1993, follows a boy named Jonas, who has been chosen to take on the post of Receiver of Memory in his society. He meets the Giver, the man who held the position before he did, and gradually realizes his world is not what it seems. Filming is planned to begin this fall.

A stage adaptation of the show had previously been produced and performed around the US.

Thwaites, who was reportedly born in 1989, is older than his character of Jonas in the novel, who is 12. This change has already angered some fans of the book, with Entertainment Weekly writer Hillary Busis writing a column titled “’The Giver’: Why the movie’s Jonas is the wrong choice.” The casting of Thwaites “implies that [production staff] may fundamentally misunderstand the soul of Lois Lowry’s original novel,” she wrote, calling Jonas’s age one of his “crucial traits.”

Some commenters on both the EW article and an article about the casting which appeared on the website Hypable agreed.

“I don't see how this can be ‘aged up’ and be as impactful,” a commenter named Ann wrote on the Entertainment Weekly website. “The very fact of Jonas being 12 and learning all of these things is what makes the book so compelling.”

Another EW commenter named Scheebles agreed.

“The entire concept of forcing 12-year-olds to start professions that they didn't choose and restricting their development before the onset of puberty is what is horrifying about the novel,” they wrote. “The fact that Jonas is forced to deal with all of these memories while only 12 is key.”

A Hypable commenter named Charbison expressed similar thoughts.

“The fact that Jonas is only 12 and facing these violent memories is what is so horrifying about this book,” they wrote. “He is burdened with the painful memories that those in the community cannot endure.”

Some, however, seemed fine with the decision to cast Thwaites.

“I don't think it will change the story much if they age him,” a Hypable commenter named Laura Jurgensmeyer wrote. “I always pictured him older than an eleven year old anyway.”

Either way, moviegoers will be seeing more of Thwaites – he was recently cast as the prince in the film adaptation of “Maleficent,” which will star Angelina Jolie as the Sleeping Beauty villain and Elle Fanning as the slumbering princess.

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