Ronan takes on “The Lovely Bones”

Alice Sebold’s best-selling novel “The Lovely Bones” will come to life on the silver screen in Peter Jackson’s film adaptation opening in theaters on Dec. 11.

The story revolves around the murder of 14- year-old Susie Salmon and her struggle to leave her family and the world of the living behind in order to enter heaven. “The Lovely Bones” is both poignant and haunting as Susie helplessly watches her grieving family and friends fall apart and the police’s struggle to catch her murderer. The novel was met with widespread critical acclaim and has touched the hearts of countless readers.

The film boasts an impressive cast, including Mark Walberg and Rachel Weisz as Susie’s parents, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci and Saoirse Ronan in the lead role. Though only 15, Ronan is by no means an amateur actress; she was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role at the 2008 Academy Awards for her role as Briony Tallis in the film “Atonement.”

Looking back on Ronan’s previous acting experiences, she has the talent to tackle a complex and emotional role like Susie. Her character is greatly defined by a serious and traumatic experience; the book does, after all, open with her brutal, violent murder by a neighbor.

“[The role] was challenging and it’s very serious subject matter and it was always going to be a challenge for me because I hadn’t done anything quite that deep before,” said Ronan in a phone interview with The Setonian. “But, it’s also very light and, you know, it’s full of hope, and so in that way it was ease.”

However, Ronan was determined to portray Susie as best as she could and had some help finding inspiration during the difficult scenes.

“When we dealt with very, you know, emotional scenes, intense scenes, there would be a lot of discussion between me and Pete [Jackson], Fran and Philippa who are the writers, as well,” she said. “We just talked a lot about it and just made sure that we were going in the same direction and we were on the same page.”

The casting of the film and the actual release of it (the movie was originally slated to hit theaters in March 2009) are not the only reasons to be excited for the film. With Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson behind the camera, audiences and critics can definitely set high expectations for the film.

Jackson is no stranger to the art of adapting books to movies; he brought to life the intricate world of JRR Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” and turned the epic trilogy into a cinematic masterpiece and cult phenomenon. The third film won 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, in 2004.

With such an accomplished director and cast involved in the making of this film, fans of Sebold’s novel and movie lovers in general have good reason to expect great things from “The Lovely Bones.”

Emily Lake can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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