The Giver - Jeff Bridges and Brenton Thwaites (header)

It’d be easy to assume that Philip Noyce‘s The Giver is just another Hunger Games knock-off, given that it’s yet another YA adaptation set in a dystopian universe. But in truth, it’s a film that Jeff Bridges has been working on for almost twenty years — way back before Katniss Everdeen was even a twinkle in Suzanne Collins’ eye. Heck, before J.K. Rowling introduced the world to Harry Potter.

Based on the novel by Lois Lowry, The Giver unfolds in a seemingly utopian society which has not just eliminated, but completely forgotten concepts like war and poverty. When protagonist Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) comes of age, however, he learns that this pain-free existence comes at a cost. He is chosen to bear the burden of remembering the past so that others won’t have to, and begins to receive memories from the Giver (Bridges).

The first images from the film have just been released, and you can check them out after the jump.

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Katie Holmes / Taylor Swift

After contributing music to one dystopian YA adaptation, Taylor Swift is getting ready to star in another. The country-pop songstress has just climbed aboard Phillip Noyce‘s The Giver, along with Katie Holmes.

The pair join a starry cast that also includes Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, and Alexander Skarsgard in the grown-up roles, along with Cameron Monaghan (Shameless, the U.S. version) and Odeya Rush (The Odd Life of Timothy Green). Brenton Thwaites leads as young hero Jonas. Hit the jump to find out whom Swift and Holmes are playing.

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Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep being who she is, it’s never particularly surprising when she signs on to work with an iconic actor. But her talent is such that we’re intrigued anyway, and this week she’s signed on for two interesting new projects. One featuring one of her first-ever co-stars, and another starring a fellow Oscar nominee I can’t believe she hasn’t worked with yet.

The first is The Good House, a “darkly comic” tale that’ll reunite the Deer Hunter duo of Streep and Robert De Niro. The other is the YA adaptation The Giver, which puts her opposite Jeff Bridges for the first time in their careers. (Though they nearly ended up together in the comedy Hope Springs.) More details on both movies after the jump.

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Brenton Thwaites

Lois Lowry‘s dystopian YA novel The Giver came out in 1993 — well before The Hunger Games was even a twinkle in Suzanne Collins‘ eye — but it’s surely no coincidence that its movie adaptation is only really picking up steam now that The Hunger Games‘ box office success has spawned a million other dystopian YA franchises.

Jeff Bridges is attached to produce and star, as he has been for years, while Philip Noyce is directing. Now bringing the “YA” part into the equation is rising Aussie star Brenton Thwaites, who’ll be seen next year in Maleficent. Hit the jump to get all the details.

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After the jump:

  • Christoph Waltz might appear in The Muppets 2 after all
  • Has Transformers 4 replaced Brenton Thwaites with Jack Reynor?
  • Berandal (a.k.a. The Raid 2) announces new cast members
  • Walton Goggins promises to be funny in G.I. Joe: Retaliation
  • Paul Rudd doesn’t know much about Anchorman 2 but hopes it’ll be good
  • Samuel L. Jackson has things to say about Unbreakable
  • Paramount and the Puzo estate settle the Godfather suit
  • A Good Day to Die Hard debuts two explosive TV spots
  • Trick ‘R Treat‘s Sam has a holiday greeting for you

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Paramount has found its next Shia LaBeouf. Or rather, its next two Shia LaBeoufs. Brenton Thwaites and Nicola Peltz have just landed the leads in Transformers 4, joining Mark Wahlberg. If you don’t recognize those names right now, that’s okay — you’ll be hearing plenty more about these rising stars in the next couple of years. Thwaites has a key role in Disney’s Maleficent, while The Last Airbender actress Peltz will next appear in A&E’s Bates Motel. More details after the jump.

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Who wants to be the next Shia LaBeouf? Love him or hate him, it’s tough to deny that he’s got the kind of career most aspiring actors would kill for. No surprise, then, that Transformers 4 is one of the hottest projects currently casting.

Michael Bay is getting ready to test actors for the male and female leads, and his appointment book includes slots for several up and comers including stars from The Last Airbender, Carrie, Taken 2, Terra Nova, Weeds, and Maleficent. Their names may not ring a bell right now, but they will someday if they get that part. More after the jump.

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We’ve already got the villainess (Angelina Jolie), the young princess (Elle Fanning), her father (Sharlto Copley), and the three fairies (Imelda Staunton, Lesley Manville, and Juno Temple), and now, at long last, we have the prince. Young Aussie actor Brenton Thwaites has just boarded Robert Stromberg‘s Maleficent, a Sleeping Beauty retelling seen from the perspective of its big bad.

Thwaites is almost totally unknown in the U.S., though he’s a little more famous in his native country. He first broke out with a starring role in the Australian drama series SLiDE, and has since done a stint on the long-running soap Home and Away. (As have the likes of Guy Pearce, Heath Ledger, Naomi Watts, and Chris Hemsworth before him.) He’ll next appear in the Lifetime Channel’s Blue Lagoon: The Awakening, but I’m betting that the Maleficent casting means this kid will be attracting some much higher-caliber projects soon. [Deadline]

After the jump, Olivia Wilde teams up with Spike Jonze.

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