Awards season for movies is in full swing now in Tinseltown and the endless cycle of promotional happenings are rolling out. Some so-called sure things are not so sure, and some smaller movies are creeping into the Hollywood consciousness and making their mark as real contenders. Enter Fox’s brilliant The Book Thief, based on the novel by Australian author Markus Zusak. The book was published in 2006 and grabbed hold of the teenage, young adult market worldwide in a huge way. It still maintains that hold; it’s no. 3 this week on the New York Times Best Seller List and has been on that very same list for the last seven years. Narrated by Death, the story takes place in Nazi Germany and is about a young girl, Liesel — luminously played by Sophie Nelisse — and the relationship she has with her foster parents, played by the talented stalwarts Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson.
The cast has been making the rounds at lunches, receptions and Q & As for the tastemakers responsible for casting the ballots that will ultimately decide what films get traction and which fall by the wayside. The Book Thief sure looks like it will surge ahead an indeed have that traction. This whimsical and at times poignant film, with pathos and real sadness, is not surprising given the circumstances of the time. The score is perfect; no surprise there either, seeing that it was composed by the legendary John Williams.
What made the Academy award winning Rush take this role? He has said that his daughter Angelica was one of the reasons he did the film. “My daughter is now 20. She and her friends told me how much the book meant to them,” he says. “Strangely, I was not aware of the book until they offered me the screenplay, and then of course I devoured it. The fact that they were teenagers then and were so positive about the book had a strong impression on me. I don’t think Marcus ever intended for it to become a young adult phenomena. I listened to them, and they were right.”
The Book Thief will be released on Nov. 8, 2013.
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