“The Giver” author Lois Lowry and some of the films’ stars including Brenton Thwaites, Odeya Rush, producer Nikki Silver and Jeff Bridges, who stars and produces, introduced the dystopian drama to a rapt Hall H audience at Comic-Con on Thursday. Around five minutes of footage was shown of “The Giver,” which opens Aug. 15.
“Dystopia was not on my mind,” said Lowry. She said she wrote it as an “exciting adventure.”
Lowry and Bridges have spent more than 15 years trying to get the 1993 novel adapted into a film. It was ultimately greenlit by the Weinstein Co. and shot primarily in South Africa, and will look to draw the same demo that turned out for “The Fault in Our Stars” and “Divergent.”
Alexander Skarsgard, Taylor Swift, Meryl Streep and Katie Holmes, who also star, as well as director Phillip Noyce were not present at the panel, although Bridges spoke about how Streep became a part of the film.
“Meryl Streep is a soccer mom, our kids play soccer together,” said Bridges. Swift became involved after Weinstein executives went to her concert and offered her the role. She portrays Rosemary, a piano-playing girl, who in the book was gone when the story began.
The Hall H audience seemed quietly respectful of the project’s literary reputation — the book is widely read in schools and familiar to most American teens. The audience wanted to hear stories of the film, of Lowry’s inspirations, and of how the film was made.
“I had a lot of opinions,” said Bridges. “I decided to jump on board knowing it was going to be very different.”
Some scenes were cut, like the one where the 12-year-old boy bathes the old woman, which Lowry said she volunteered do as a cameo. The author also offered up changes to Streep, one of which she took.
Lowry said, “This is in a studio in New York and Meryl was recording some dialogue and there’s a scene at the end. Jeff’s character says ‘you could stop this,’ And she says, ‘stop what? She then says ‘if you don’t want to watch close your eyes and go sit down with the other elders,’ and I was like, what is she, Helen Keller? You have to go sit down first and then close your eyes, and she took the suggestion.”
Although it was a small story, the audience lapped it up.