The Lovely Bones, a movie based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Alice Sebold, is nearing completion and will be released this Christmas. The man charged with bringing the grim and, at times, downright distressing book to life on the big-screen is Peter Jackson, he of the Lord of The Rings trilogy.
The book tells the story of murdered teenager Susie Salmon. We see her in the afterlife watching from on high as her family struggle to come to grips with what has happened to her. It’s an interesting concept but, according to Jackson, not as depressing as one may at first imagine.
Jackson talked about the movie to USA Today by e-mail from New Zealand where he’s finishing it up. He said:
“I found the book to be curiously optimistic, I felt inspired by Susie’s struggle to come to terms with her own death. In the face of overwhelming grief, she finds hope. She holds on to love, and by doing so, she transcends the horror of her murder.”
“It’s God-less in the sense that when Susie dies, she finds herself caught in a place between Earth and Heaven — she is in an ‘In-Between,’ as Alice Sebold calls it. [When she moves on] we’re happy for audiences to imagine this new world in whatever way makes them comfortable.”
Hopefully Jackson will be able to convey the feeling of optimism he felt when reading the book onto the audience. But I still feel a lot of people will ignore this movie for fear the subject matter will be too sad to be entertaining. Which if Jackson’s past record is anything to go on will prove not to be the case.
As for the depiction of Heaven, or at least Salmon’s own personal version of that mystical place, this was rumored to be the cause of a falling out between Jackson and his art director early on in production. Although it now seems Jackson is more than happy with what they ended up with. But will the audience? Especially those who have read the book and have their own idea of what it should look and feel like?