Guest Post: The Giver and The Fault in Our Stars by Spencer Blohm

Today, we welcome Spencer Blohm back to I'd So Rather Be Reading.  Spencer has guest posted here before about the success of Dean Koontz (read that post here).  Today, Spencer is here to talk about two upcoming movies that we are very excited about: The Giver and The Fault in Our Stars.  Welcome, Spencer!

The Giver & The Fault in Our Stars: Two of This Summer’s Most Anticipated Movies
by Spencer Blohm

     For so many adults and teens alive today the name Lois Lowry holds a special place in their heart. Chances are that many in the U.S. either read Lowry’s best-selling novel The Giver in school, or simply chose to read the now classic book for pleasure. Either way, since its release in 1993, it has become a mainstay in YA literature.

      So, when I heard that The Giver was being adapted into a film, I was naturally excited, in addition to being slightly nervous given the track record of so many YA book adaptations (just check out Vampire Academy for an adaptation gone awry). However, when I heard the names attached to the project, mainly Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep, my anxiety was greatly reduced.

      It may strike many of you as odd that the film is coming out now, roughly 21 years since its release. Like so many other projects in Hollywood, the film was held up in various states of pre-production for 20 years after Bill Cosby originally bought the film rights in 1994. Somewhere along the way, Jeff Bridges expressed interest in being involved in the project in some capacity, since he was such a large fan of the book. Fast forward a few years, and Bridges is not only starring as the titular character, but is also one of the producers for the film. Naturally, when other big names like Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgard, Katie Holmes, and Taylor Swift were cast, anticipation reached a fever pitch.

      While not much is known about how the film will be in comparison to the book, the recently released trailer assures us that the production quality is on par with its YA predecessors. As for Lowry’s thoughts on the film, she’s not involved in it directly, but she’s been able to get her hands on all four of the previous screenplays and was pleased with the one that the film chose to use. She also approved of the casting of Bridges as The Giver, telling Entertainment Weekly, “He’s the one I see in it because he’s the one who legally has the right to play that role now. There are other actors that I could see there, but I purposefully put them out of my mind because that overcomplicates it.”

     Of course, that isn’t the only book adaptation coming to theaters this summer, John Green’s beloved book The Fault in Our Stars will make its way into theaters on June 6th. The film reunites Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort who previously co-starred in another book adaptation last year, The Spectacular Now (which you should catch on demand because these two have fantastic chemistry).

     This time around the duo are playing teens who meet in a cancer support group. Right off the bat you know it’s going to be a tearjerker, and it’s slated to become the teen answer to The Notebook. The Huffington Post’s Leigh Blickley was invited to attend a special fan screening on May 3rd and described the reaction of the audience (consisting of primarily teen girls) to the more emotional scenes: “The hysteria that ensued in this theater was so soul-crushing that I wondered if someone should call an ambulance.” I believe that simple quote says everything about how emotionally charged this film is going to be, and those who have read the book know exactly what we’re in for.

      The release of both these films, as well as Divergent earlier this spring and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 this fall show just how willing Hollywood is to cater to the teen market, particularly girls. It’s a trend that we’re likely to see expanding far beyond just film  – I’d fully expect a few YA books to be turned into TV shows in the coming year as well. Only time will tell as to what other popular YA books will grace the screen, but hopefully they’ll be as interesting as their predecessors.

Follow Spencer on Twitter:  @bspencerblohm

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