Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep Challenge Kids in 'The Giver'

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"The Giver" is the haunting tale of a seemingly perfect world without pain, suffering, or basic human emotion. The film stars Oscar-Award winning actress, Meryl Streep. Actor Jeff Bridges plays the title role.

This is a film Bridges has wanted to make for nearly 20 years. In an interview with CBN News, he said, "I wanted to direct my father, Loyd Bridges, in a film that my kids could see."

"And so I look through a catalogue of children's books and saw this cover with this grizzled old guy on there, with the Newberry Award stamp," he continued. "My dad could play that part. It looks like a very popular book."

This film is based on Lois Lowry's popular 1993 children's novel, which has sold more than 10 million copies.

Lowry believes there a few reasons why the story has resonated with so many young people.

"I think it's the fact that it is a young boy to whom they can relate to," Lowry said.

"I try to create a character they would like and whom they would feel like. A young, vulnerable innocent boy, experiencing something amazing," she said. "I think kids see the adventure of it. As they get older and re-read or they come to it for the first time, they see the more profound questions that it raises."

Actor Brenton Thwaites plays Jonas, the young leading man in the film. Odeya Rush plays Fiona, Jonas' closest friend on his journey to becoming The Giver's replacement.

Both Thwaites and Rush found the storyline to be powerful. And that power is why Walden Media partnered with the Weinstein Company to produce the film.

Walden founder Michael Flaherty discussed that company decision with CBN News.

"I thought this is the perfect book for Walden. Walden's mission statement is to make films that make kids to ask the big questions and they were all in here. Truly, life, liberty ,and the pursuit of happiness," Flaherty said. "And one issue that I am always interested in is how much of our freedom are we willing to give up for security? And it's a question that goes all the way back to the Hebrew scriptures."

Bridges said he is pleased his passion project is now available for the world to see. Bridges said he thinks the story will challenge audiences, just as it challenged him.

"I noticed in myself how I am sort of addicted to comfort," he told CBN News. "I like to be as happy and comfortable as I possibly can. That is something I believe I share with most folks and it is a challenge to us what we are willing to pay for that comfort." 

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Efrem Graham

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Efrem Graham is an award-winning journalist, who comes to CBN News from the ABC owned and operated station in Toledo, Ohio.  He received his master's degree from the Columbia University Journalism School. He also holds a bachelor's degree in English Literature from the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey.  Follow Efrem on Twitter @EfremGraham and "like" him at Facebook.com/EfremGrahamCBN.