Cameron Monaghan never wanted the lead role in “The Giver.”
When TheWrap sat down with the cast of Phillip Noyce‘s adaptation of Lois Lowry’s classic YA dystopian tale, Monaghan said rather than the innate goodness of Jonas (Brenton Thwaites), he was drawn to the moral ambiguities of his character Asher.
“The Giver” is set in a dark futuristic society in which emotions, relationships and all memories of human history have been eradicated. Thwaites’ Jonas is chosen by the Elders (Meryl Streep, among them) to be the Receiver of Memories, to hold in all the emotions and histories deemed too destructive to be experienced by everyone else.
Also read: ‘The Giver’ Review: Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep Can’t Teach This Predictable YA Thriller New Tricks
Jonas, along with the previous Receiver, played by Jeff Bridges, naturally begins to question whether what they’re doing is the right thing, and runs into issues with authority figures. Monaghan’s Asher, as Jonas’ childhood best friend, finds himself torn on how to handle his friend’s bizarre new antics.
“Asher is this really morally complex character,” Monaghan says of why he sought this role over Jonas. “He goes through a really interesting journey where he starts as this sort of goofy, fun-loving guy and then becomes, essentially, a weapon for this oppressive government.”
See video: Brenton Thwaites Sees Piano-Playing Taylor Swift Inside Jeff Bridges’ Mind in ‘The Giver’ Clip
Characters on a path for destruction are something of a Monaghan specialty. Ian Gallagher on “Shameless” is another character who’s at a crossroads, at least when the series left off in the season four finale. When the show returns for season five, Monaghan says Ian will continue to struggle. “He’s going to be moving even closer to the edge of this precipice that he’s living on. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
“The Giver” will be released on Friday, August 15. “Shameless” will return for season 5 in 2015.