The Lovely Bones starts filming in Malvern tomorrow, and the summery fall weather has filmmakers seeing green. Or red. Or something they weren’t expecting.
It’s the trees. They’re not following the script, and are acting more like September than October.
Then there’s the concern that the leaves will drop at once. Director Peter Jackson is prepping silk standins, just in case.
The DreamWorks production will spend about six weeks in the suburbs, take a holiday break, and pick up in late January in Jackson’s New Zealand, where it will be summer. Paramount will distribute; a release date has not been announced.
The Lovely based on Alice Sebold’s 2002 novel, tells the story of suburban Philadelphia teen Susie Salmon (played by 13-year-old Irish actress Saoirse Ronan; say her first name “SEER-sha”), who is murdered by neighbor George Harvey ( Stanley Tucci). The story is told from the afterlife.
Ryan Gosling and Rachel Weisz are her parents, Susan Sarandon plays her grandmother, and Michael Imperioli plays a detective. Sebold graduated from Great Valley High near Malvern in 1980.
Jackson, known for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, wrote the screenplay with Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, who have joined Jackson in the area. Jackson and Walsh also are producing, as are Carolynne Cunningham and Aimee Peyronnet. Boyens has a coproducer credit.
Besides Jackson, Walsh, Boyens, Weisz and Sarandon, at least two other Oscar winners are on board: cinematographer Andrew Lesnie ( The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring) and makeup-hair designer Peter King ( The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King).
Costume designer Nancy Steiner ( Little Miss Sunshine, Lost in Translation) scoured vintage stores for ’70s fashions.
Many of the production’s out-oftowners are renting Main Line homes, though a few have taken hotel rooms.
Sightings have begun: Tucci and Imperioli dined at Susanna Foo Gourmet Kitchen in Radnor on Wednesday. (Fox29’s bubbly Jennaphr Frederick, out with her husband, Steve, managed to restrain herself and left them alone.) And Thursday was Kiwi night at the Radnor Hotel, as Jackson hosted a party with Gosling, Weisz, Tucci and Ronan.