MUMBAI: DreamWorks Studios and Film 4 have acquired The Lovely Bones. It is Peter Jackson’s adaptation of the Alice Sebold best-selling novel. The announcement was made by DreamWorks Studios CEO and co-chairman Stacey Snider.
Jackson will direct the film from a screenplay he co-wrote with Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh. Carolynne Cunningham, Jackson, Walsh, and Aimee Peyronnet will serve as producers. The executive producers will be Film 4’s Tessa Ross, Ken Kamins and Jim Wilson.
The Lovely Bones has been one of the most sought-after properties in recent years. It tells the story of Susie Salmon, who is murdered, but continues to observe her family on Earth after her death. Although she is detached from the world she once knew, Susie witnesses the impact of her loss on her loved ones, whilst her killer skillfully covers his tracks and prepares to murder again. In a tone that is both emotionally truthful, and darkly humorous, she tries to balance her desire for vengeance against the love she feels for her family and her need to see them heal; and ultimately comes to understand that the concept of family can encompass both the living and the dead.
The picture is scheduled to begin filming in October in Pennsylvania and New Zealand. It will be distributed worldwide by Paramount.
Sebold’s second novel, The Lovely Bones, was published in 2002. The book has sold over ten million copies worldwide and remained on the New York Times hardback bestseller list for over a year. In 2003, Sebold won the Book of the Year Award for Adult Fiction from the American Booksellers Association.
“We are thrilled that DreamWorks Studios has been able to acquire the film rights to this story that has captivated so many people. In the hands of Peter Jackson, we have a master of cinematic storytelling to bring it to the screen,” said Snider.
Steven Spielberg said, “When you read an emotionally magical story that cries out to be turned into a major motion picture, you hope its winding path can find its way to the door of your own company. Peter Jackson has made this possible and I’m so grateful to him, Fran and Film 4 for giving The Lovely Bones a home at DreamWorks.”
“Alice Sebold’s story affects readers in deeply personal ways and the most important consideration for me was finding a studio partner who felt an equally strong connection with the book. Not just in sharing our emotional reaction to the story, but our desire to see it told in an original, adventurous way on screen,” said Jackson.
Ross said, “Film 4 have been nurturing this project for over five years. And now, to end up with Peter, Fran, Philippa and Dreamworks all together, is really as good as it gets. All of us at Film 4 are over the moon.”
Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh are frequent co-writers and producers with Jackson. They have previously collaborated on the scripts for all three Lord of the Rings films and King Kong, as well as serving as producers on each of those films. They were also honored with Oscars for their writing on The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, with Walsh also winning for song writing and producing.