While milling around Comic-Con in San Diego, Entertainment Weekly Radio got a hold of the one-and-only Jeff Bridges, who plays The Giver in the upcoming film adaptation of Lois Lowry’s 1993 novel.

On hand to talk about The Giver (out August 15) with Lowry, Jeff spoke about how he’d been wanting to do a Giver movie for about 20 years.

“Back then I was looking for a film to direct my father, Lloyd Bridges, in, and I wanted to find some material my young kids — at the time — could see,” said Jeff. “So I’ve got this kids’ book, and I was looking through it, and I saw this wonderful photograph on the cover with a grizzled old guy, and it had the Newbery award stamp on it, and I said, ‘Oh, my dad could play that grizzled old guy.’ And it certainly worked as a children’s book, but as an adult, man, I dug this story so much. It was just kind of a magical, poetic, beautiful book. I thought it would be an easy movie to get made because of that Newbery award, and I found out that it was being taught in schools. But turns out it was quite controversial. It took all these years to have Walden Media and the Weinstein Company to step up and finance the thing.”

Jeff later surmised that part of the reason why The Giver got financed might’ve had something to do with the fact that The Hunger Games and Divergent — two other young adult dystopian books-turned-movies — have recently gained enormous traction in popular culture.

Lois Lowry agreed with Jeff’s hypothesis, but didn’t necessary understand it.

“My book was published before those books,” said Lois. “Some people have said that The Giver was the first dystopian novel for young people. But [The Hunger Games and Divergent] got made into movies sooner. Why that happened, I don’t know. I’m kind of surprised, actually, because those books and those movies are very violent, which The Giver is not. That should’ve worked against them, but there they are, as good films.”

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