The Giver’s Brenton Thwaites on learning from Jeff Bridges

What The Giver star Brenton Thwaites learnt from Jeff Bridges and Angelina Jolie

Brenton Thwaites and Odeya Rush in The Giver
Brenton Thwaites and Odeya Rush in The Giver

“I’m not a sci-fi fan but I love acting in them. I have to say I wasn’t a huge fan of sci-fi as a kid either but it’s funny as I’ve done a few,” Brenton Thwaites boldly admits to SciFiNow.

Indeed despite not subscribing to sci-fi, young Aussie newcomer Brenton Thwaites has already made some considerable strides in the genre in his career of late.

Following on from his role in 2013 supernatural horror Oculus, the now 25-year-old actor took the lead in acclaimed Love director William Eubank’s smart sci-fi thriller follow up The Signal opposite Laurence Fishburne.

“I loved how multi-genred it was and how real these characters seemed in this sci-fi world,” he continues. “That was like a drama, mixed with sci-fi mixed with thriller, it had so many different components to it. After the second act you kind of put it on your head, sort of shake it around like a washing machine. Willy Eubank’s is a legend, so unique!”

the-giver-drone

After learning some tidbits from a terrifying Angelina Jolie in Disney fantasy flick Maleficent (“She knew how to say things to me to adjust ever so slightly my performance. She’s such a talented actress as well so she knows when I’m not connected or little things like you need to say that a little clearer or little things that really matter in the take that sometimes don’t really matter in your performance.”) Thwaites took the titular lead in Phillip Noyce’s The Giver, the ambitious and long in development adaptation of Lois Lowry’s popular but politically polarising 1993 children’s book.

The actor plays Jonas who lives in a self-contained, seemingly idyllic world, who is ultimately appointed ‘receiver of memory’ – a position which grants unique access to archives storing all of the world’s memories (i.e. history) before ‘Sameness’ came into being.

“The idea is that there’s a receiver of memory for every generation and they are there to support these people in this community that live a controlled, constructed life,” explains Thwaites.

“So there’s one person who isn’t controlled and my character is chosen as the next receiver of memory and so is passed on the memory from {his predecessor} as perhaps one day he was passed.

The Giver was a movie that is a little different, in that the characters aren’t very real and they’re in a false environment and my character realises that and decides to venture out into the real world. I learn the truth about that world and I learn love and I learn war and I decide to go against the grain a bit and find out about the truth of that community.”

THE GIVER

Distinguished veteran Jeff Bridges plays the previous receiver of memory (i.e.: ‘The Giver’) who trains the young recruit. But how did Thwaites feel working opposite such a Hollywood heavyweight as Bridges?

“He was really supportive of me and he gave me a lot to work with,” he reveals. “The truth about working with these actors is that they make you a better actor because you’re focused to really be in the scene with them and react with them. Create with them I guess.”

“He’s so impulsive and irrelevant that it taught me to improvise or just to go with it, try and do something crazy that will shock the director. [Jeff] tried to keep the vibe before any take, like anything can happen and that’s the way I learnt to, as a tool, prepare for an impulsive scene.”

Not that the young actor wasn’t prone to a bit of trepidation when working opposite the 64-year-old Oscar winner and Tron legend.

“I felt intimidated everyday to a certain extent, I just got more comfortable and more familiar with that feeling.”

The Giver is released in cinemas 19 September 2014. You can buy the original book for £5.25 from Amazon.co.uk and keep up with the latest movie news by subscribing to SciFiNow and saving 30% off the cover price.