Peter Jackson directed The Lovely Bones, a 2009 supernatural thriller drama film based on a script he co-wrote with Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. It stars Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, and Michael Imperioli and is based on Alice Sebold’s 2002 novel of the same name. The plot follows a slain girl who watches over her family from “the in-between,” torn between exacting vengeance on her perpetrator and allowing her family to heal.
The film was produced by Carolynne Cunningham, Walsh, Jackson, and Aimee Peyronnet, with Steven Spielberg, Tessa Ross, Ken Kamins, and James Wilson serving as executive producers. It was an international co-production between the United States, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. Principal photography began in New Zealand and Pennsylvania in October 2007. Brian Eno composed the film’s score.
The Lovely Bones is based on several genuine stories.
A portion of the plot of The Lovely Bones is based on genuine events. The novel of the same name, written by Alice Sebold, sold more than 8 million copies following its 2002 debut and was made into a film. Despite being a fiction novel with fictional aspects such as a deceased narrator, its roots are firmly set in a true story of rape.
The character of Susie Salmon was supposedly inspired by a teenage girl from Norristown, Pennsylvania. In the 1970s, she was stolen from her parents, brutally raped, and murdered. Unfortunately, Sebold’s inspiration for the terrifying story does not stop there. The author, a courageous and inspiring rape survivor, appears to have integrated her real experiences with the horrible crime into the novel.
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In May 1981, Alice Sebold, then 18, was ambushed, assaulted, and raped while attending Syracuse University. Despite the terrifying event, the young woman survived, but her perpetrator escaped. Despite her ordeal, Sebold resumed her studies at the university. Several months after her incident, Sebold met her accused attacker, Anthony Broadwater, on the street and reported him to the police.
She initially identified the man seated next to him in a police lineup as her rapist, but she later recognized Broadwater, which led to his arrest. His subsequent conviction and incarceration were based on his identification and now-discredited forensic hair analysis methodologies. Broadwater was freed in 1999 after serving 16 years in jail.
A Peculiar Type of Good Fortune
Sebold was traumatized and tried to make sense of her life after the rape in 1981, and she was later diagnosed with PTSD. She graduated in 1984 after attending graduate school at the University of Houston in Texas. She subsequently relocated to Manhattan, where she spent ten years working as a waitress. During that time, both her poetry and novel-writing attempts failed.
She began writing a novel about the rape and murder of an adolescent girl after coming to California. Her working title was Monsters, but she failed to finish the project. Sebold understood after a while that she wanted to write about her personal rape and how it affected her first.
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The book, Lucky, was published in 1999 and detailed every element of rape in minute detail. The title of Sebold’s memoir derives from a chat with a police officer who told her that another lady had been raped and murdered in the same spot and that Sebold was “fortunate” not to have been slain.
Lucky had great feedback but eventually faded into obscurity. Following the popularity of her novel The Lovely Bones in 2002, interest in the memoir grew, and one million copies were sold.
Peter Jackson adopts a unique method.
The film adaptation of The Lovely Bones, starring Saoirse Ronan as Susi Salmon, Stanley Tucci as George Harvey, Mark Wahlberg as Jack Salmon, Rachel Weisz as Abigail Salmon, Rose McIver as Lindsey Salmon, and Susan Sarandon as Grandma Lynn, was released in 2009.
The film takes a different approach to story-telling than the book does. Despite the fact that the novel deals with a horrible crime and its aftermath, the film has a much “lighter” tone and comes off as a hopeful narrative of a soul discovering the freedom it craves. Furthermore, the novel’s violence and suffering are toned down in the film.
“I don’t know how anyone can envisage a perfect adaptation of a book because the medium is so different,” Peter Jackson said in response to accusations that he veered from the novel. What interests me about adaptation is that you are providing a personal reaction to the text that is the filmmakers.
If you offer the same book to 20 different filmmakers, you’ll get 20 different films.
“The definitive version of ‘The Lovely Bones’ is Alice Sebold’s novel,” he continued. If you want to enjoy ‘The Lovely Bones’ the way it was meant to be experienced, you read the novel.”
Where is The Lovely Bones streaming?
The Lovely Bones was added to Netflix earlier this May, thankfully! If you’re looking to stream the mystery, head on over to Netflix.