March 19, 2014 at 9:03 AM ET
Since 1993, "The Giver" has been one of the rare books kids get as a school reading assignment ... and fall in love with anyway. Now, the classic novel about a young boy chosen to be his society's Receiver of Memories is a buzzed-about feature film with an all-star cast, and on Wednesday TODAY aired an exclusive first-look trailer.
The world of "The Giver" looks happy and prosperous, but the trailer shows that underneath that veneer lies denial and deception. "The way things look and the way things are are very different," intones The Giver (Jeff Bridges).
Bridges is just one member of the all-star cast, which includes Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, Alexander Skarsgard and Taylor Swift.
"I cannot prepare you for what's going to happen," adds Bridges, who appears to be sitting in a chair across from the story's 16-year-old hero, Jonas (Brenton Thwaites).
Jonas is next shown fleeing with a bundled-up baby in his arms and being overtaken by a spaceship.
As Chief Elder, Streep wears long, steely-gray hair and is clearly in charge. "When people have the freedom to choose, they choose wrong," she says.
"The Giver" trailer will start appearing in theaters on March 20, and opens in theaters on Aug. 15.