Taylor Swift once sang for a YA movie. Now she's going to appear in one.
The accomplished pop star and up-and-coming actress is the latest addition to the cast of "The Giver," a dystopian science fiction film based on the 1993 novel by Lois Lowry and winner of the 1994 Newbury Medal.
Swift, who performed the hit single "Safe and Sound" featured on the soundtrack to "The Hunger Games," foreshadowed her involvement with "The Giver" when she was seen out and about with her now-leading man, Brenton Thwaites, at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month. Details of Swift's character are being kept under wraps as she joins an eclectic cast that includes Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Katie Holmes, Alexander Skarsgard, Odeya Rush, and Cameron Monaghan.
"The Giver" takes place in a future world in which society has been reinvented as the 'Community,' a tightly controlled order that has eliminated pain and strife — and embraced emotional shallowness — by converting to a practice known as the 'Sameness.' Our hero, Jonas, will soon be participating in the Ceremony of Twelve, where he will be assigned the job he will perform for the rest of his life — which ends up being the Receiver of Memory, a keeper of history that opens him to a long-lost world of war, hunger and suffering ... but also one of love, choices, and desires.
It looks like one major change in the book-to-screen adaptation is the Ceremony of Twelve might end up being the Ceremony of Eighteen or So, as up-and-coming star Brenton Thwaites, who was born in 1989, is decidedly older than the 12-year-old Jonas of the book. What's also curious is that Katie Holmes has been cast as Thwaites' mother, even though she's only 11 years older than him off-screen. Then again, Sean Connery is only 12 years Harrison Ford's senior, and that worked just fine for "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," so it's probably nothing a little graying of Holmes's hair won't fix.
Other key roles include The Giver himself (Bridges), who passes his Receiver of Memory position on to Jonas, and the Chief Elder (Streep), an antagonistic authority figure who assigns the tasks to the young 'uns. It looks to be all about the scenery-chewing for Meryl Streep lately, as she'll soon be seen as an insufferable matriarch in this fall's "August: Osage County" and is currently filming her role as the Witch in "Into the Woods."
As for Taylor Swift, "The Giver" makes for her most high-profile acting gig yet, with her only other big-screen credits to date being the ensemble romantic comedy "Valentine's Day" (2010) and providing the voice of Audrey in "The Lorax" (2012). She has also previously guest-starred on "New Girl" and "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."
Production on "The Giver" will commence on October 7 in South Africa under the direction of Phillip Noyce ("Salt," "Dead Calm"). The film is set to hit theaters on August 15, 2014.