It seems that everything is right on schedule for Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Alice Sebold’s novel, The Lovely Bones. Recent rumors have speculated that production on the film was shut down due to a rift between Jackson and his art director over the way heaven should look in the film. Today, however, we get news that no such rift ever existed and Jackson and his art director seem to be perfectly simpatico on how heaven should appear. According to DreamWorks/Paramount the film is on track to meet its original release date of Fall, 2009.
The Lovely Bones has had some controversy in the past. If you’ll recall, Jackson released Ryan Gosling from the picture immediately before shooting was to begin reportedly because Gosling had gained too much weight and was becoming a bit of a nuisance. This story was never officially confirmed, but Mark Wahlberg did take over Gosling’s role as the father in the film.
The Lovely Bones tells the story of a 14-year-old girl named Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) who is raped, murdered, and dismembered by a neighbor. Over the next few years Susie watches from a personalized heaven as her family and friends deal with their grief even as Susie continues to keep an eye on the man who murdered her.
I read the book and found it to be a fairly good book full of drama and a lot of potential for a film. I’m a little worried about what Jackson has in mind, however, after hearing what some of the actors have said. His casting was already a bit sketchy as Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz as the parents is a bit of a stretch. But then Susan Sarandon, who plays the grandmother in the film, had this to say while she was on the red carpet for Speed Racer:
“I just finished that yes,” she said. “I play the comic relief, an alcoholic grandmother ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ my first grandma ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Å“ but she doesn’t really seem like a real grandmother because she has a lot of hair and jewellery and nails and liquor. I don’t think I ever talk without a cigarette and a drink in my hand.”
“Peter Jackson is really a nice guy and very interesting. It was really a very different way of working. We had a good time, I’m really curious to see what it’s like because he kept pushing me to be more and more extreme and sometimes that’s when you make your big mistakes so I’m not sure how it will come off – it will be interesting to see it from the point of view of the audience.”
I’m not exactly sure what Peter Jackson is having Sarandon doing that she would be the “comic relief” in this story (and I don’t think Sarandon had much of an idea either). There’s not much comic relief in the book for obvious reasons. Somehow I think the emotional impact of the film could be hurt if this is played too far to the comedy side. Seems strange.
At any rate, The Lovely Bones should be out sometime in the Fall of 2009 and we can all see for ourselves. I recommend reading the book if you get a chance just to see how the film stacks up when it comes out.
Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon, Michael Imperioli, Rose McIver and Carolyn Dando star in the film, co-written by Jackson and his King Kong and Lord of the Rings partners Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh.