By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com June 28, 2011 at 12:58PM
'House of Sand and Fog' Writer-Director Vadim Perelman Writing Script
This year marks 40 years since Jeff Bridges broke through in "The Last Picture Show," and what's truly remarkable is that the actor is probably now a bigger star than ever before. His long-awaited Oscar win came with "Crazy Heart" in 2009, and last year he headlined the tentpole "Tron: Legacy" and took the western "True Grit" to a massive box office, picking up another Oscar nomination for his trouble. And at 61, there's no sign of stopping any time soon: he's about to shoot two blockbusters back-to-back, with potential Harry Potter successor "The Seventh Son" swiftly following the effects-heavy cop flick "R.I.P.D" with Ryan Reynolds.
And as so often happens, Bridges is using his cachet to get a passion project going, one that he's had his eye on for quite some time. Variety reports that Bridges is teaming with long-time producing partner Nikki Silver and veteran John Heyman to pick up the rights for Lois Lowry's popular young adult sci-fi novel "The Giver," something that Bridges has been looking at since the 1990s, when his daughter read it in high school.
The book, which won the Newberry Medal in 1994, is set in a futuristic, dystopian world, where society has eradicated memories and emotion, giving the responsibility of remembering the past to a single person, the Receiver. The hero, Jonas, is selected to be the new Receiver, but while being trained by the titular Giver, a previous Receiver, he finds himself struggling with the duties he bears.
Bridges had originally intended the title role to be played by his late father, Lloyd Bridges, but has now decided that he's reached an appropriate age, and intends to take the part on himself. The film previously came close to a green light in 2006, with "House of Sand and Fog" writer-director Vadim Perelman at the helm, and Walden Media backing it with Fox, but it never came together, and the rights went to Warner Bros, who set "Harry Potter" helmer David Yates to direct. That too, fell apart when Yates returned to the franchise for "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," giving Bridges the chance for one more crack of the whip.
Perelman is still involved as a writer, although it's unclear if he's still directing -- it's possible that, with Yates being arguably the most-sought after director around right now, that Bridges may try to approach him. We're not familiar with the books ourselves, but it's got a strong reputation (pre-dating the current explosion of young adult literature), and it's clearly something that the star feels passionate about -- it's the first time he's served as a producer since 1992's "American Heart," although he was an exec on "Crazy Heart" -- so we're certainly more interested in seeing how it turns out amongst its many competitors in the genre. There's no studio attached right now, but considering Bridges' heat at the moment, we'd be surprised if it didn't find a home soon.