When a movie is almost 30 years in the making, the casting is pretty important. That's about how long it's been since Lois Lowery's The Giver was published in 1993, and thanks to its common location on middle school reading lists, there are generations of people familiar with the novel. Hopefully, they are all Out of Africa, or at least Devil Wears Prada fans, as Meryl Streep is set to join The Giver.
Streep would play the chief elder of the book's dystopian society, its powerful leader. That's right, dystopian society. Just because it's a children's book doesn't mean that it isn't dark. The Giver takes place in a future of "sameness," where people have their emotions and memories suppressed to create an obedient, controlled society. As the chief elder, Streep would essentially play the villain, opposite Jeff Bridges as the titular giver, the only man who knows what the world was like before "sameness," and his protege Jonah, played by relative newcomer Brenton Thwaites.
It's promising to see big names like Bridges and Streep join the film because it shows that it's being taken seriously, despite the daunting task of turning a dystopian children's book with intense themes into a movie kids and adults both want to see. Streep is a good choice for the role though, and not just for the star-power and prestige her name brings – she's already played a leader, though of a very different kind, as Margaret Thatcher in 2011's The Iron Lady, and was a very believable emotionless ice queen in The Devil Wears Prada.
Now if she could just combine the two she'd have the perfect chief elder.