The Lovely Bones is a 2009 film directed by Peter Jackson. It is a film adaptation of the award-winning and best-selling 2002 novel of the same name by Alice Sebold. The film stars Saoirse Ronan in the lead role as protagonist Susie Salmon, along with Mark Wahlberg and Rachel Weisz, as her parents Jack and Abigail Salmon respectively, in supporting roles.
Jackson and his producer partners acquired the rights independently and developed a script on their own, later selling it to DreamWorks. Principal photography for the film began in October 2007 in New Zealand and Pennsylvania, United States. After DreamWorks left the film, Paramount became the film's sole distributor. The film's trailer was released on August 4, 2009, and clips from the movie were shown in July 2009.The film's North American release date has changed multiple times. Paramount gave the film a limited release on December 11, 2009, and is set to having a wider release on January 15, 2010. The film was released to mainly mixed reviews from critics; the story and its message were generally criticized, with praise mainly aimed at the acting, particularly of Ronan and Stanley Tucci. In the film's opening weekend, in limited release, it grossed $116,616 despite only having been screened in three theaters, placing it at 30th place on the box office chart. The film, as of December 26, 2009, has made over $226,000 in North America. The film, mainly its cast - particularly Tucci, has received various awards and nominations, notably including one Golden Globe and Screen Actor Guild nominations.
On December 6, 1973, 14-year-old Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) is raped and murdered by a neighbor, George Harvey (Stanley Tucci), a serial killer of young girls. Susie finds herself in 'the in-between' - a Heaven-like place, observing her family as they grieve for her. She also watches her killer who, having covered his tracks successfully, is preparing to murder again. Her father Jack (Mark Wahlberg) becomes obsessed with his daughter's murder, while her mother Abigail (Rachel Weisz) moves away to numb the pain. Susie struggles to balance her desire for vengeance on Harvey and her desire to have her family recover from their loss.
- Mark Wahlberg as Jack Salmon
- Rachel Weisz as Abigail Salmon.
- Amanda Michalka as Clarissa.
- Saoirse Ronan as Susie Salmon.
- Stanley Tucci as George Harvey.
- Susan Sarandon as Lynn.
- Rose McIver as Lindsey Salmon.
- Christian Thomas Ashdale as Buckley Salmon.
- Michael Imperioli as Len Fenerman.
- Reece Ritchie as Ray Singh.
- Charlie Saxton as Ronald Drake.
- Carolyn Dando as Ruth Conners.
- Nikki SooHoo as Holly.
- Annabel Grealish as Lola.
Ronan, who was thirteen years old at the time of her casting and filming, was cast as Susie Salmon, a fourteen-year-old girl who is raped and murdered by her neighbor. Ronan and her family were originally hesitant for Ronan to accept her role in the film because of the rape and murder content, but after meeting with Jackson, their hesitation eased.
Wahlberg was cast as Jack Salmon, Susie's father, who tries to figure out who murdered her and become obsessively absorbed in his daughter's murder case. Wahlberg stated that his role in the film had encouraged him to be a more cautious parent with his three children and to talk to them more about 'not talking to strangers.' Prior to Wahlberg's casting, Ryan Gosling was set to play the role but had to drop out right before principal photography. Gosling reportedly dropped out of the film in October 2007, one month before filming. Gosling, who had gained 20 pounds and grown a beard for the role, said that he'd dropped out of the role due to the age difference between him and the character, stating: "The age of the character versus my real age [of twenty-nine] was always a concern of mine. Peter [Jackson] and I tried to make it work and ultimately it just didn't. I think the film is much better off with Mark Wahlberg in that role."
Weisz was cast as Abigail Salmon, Susie's mother. After Susie's murder her mother despairs. Weisz stated that playing the character and the film and novel's "uplifting theme" made her look at life as a "treasure" and the film gave her a "positive feeling" rather than a "depressed" one. Ashdale was cast as Buckley Salmon, Susie's younger brother. Tucci was cast as George Harvey, a serial killer who is also Susie's rapist and murderer. Tucci stated that he'd researched his role by watching documentaries and reading books by criminal profiler John Douglas about catching serial killers Tucci stated that his wife, Kate, had strongly urged him not to accept his role in the film because she felt, after reading the novel, that the film and his character was too 'harrowing.'
Sarandon was cast as Lynn, Susie's grandmother. Sarandon stated that her character is like a "comic relief" and that her character deals with the pain of Susie's death by drinking, smoking and shooting guns. McIver was cast as Lindsey Salmon, the younger sister of Susie who is the first to suspect Harvey as being involved in Susie's death. Jackson cast McIver particularly because she was an unknown actress. Mclver stated that she had read and been a fan of the novel prior to having been cast in the film. Imperioli was cast as Len Fenerman, the detective who's in charge of investigating Susie's death. Ritchie was cast as Ray Singh, Susie's mutual love interest and friend. Ritchie stated that his character is strongly affected by Susie's death and his character in the film is the first to be suspected of having murdered Susie.
Saxton was cast as Ronald Drake, one of Susie's murder suspects. Dando was cast as Ruth Conners, a classmate of Susie's. Jackson stated that after he'd searched all over the world for the role of Ruth, he ultimately chose to cast Dando, a relatively unknown actress, who was also a working as a waitress prior to her casting. Michalka, a musician, was cast as Clarissa, Susie’s best friend. SooHoo was cast as Holly, Susie's best friend in Heaven.