Saoirse Ronan plays poor Susie Salmon, who's marked for bloody death in Peter Jackson's film adaptation of The Lovely Bones. We talked to her about pairing the movie's devastatingly frightening scenes with Jackson's imaginative effects.
What was it like filming such an intense movie with Stanley Tucci? His character was frightening.
Stanley is a good enough actor to be able to completely change the way he is in real life. And to think about hurting a child - it was very frightening to see how much he changed.
He gave me chills. It was almost hard to watch, and he's a favorite actor of mine. We're you ever scared, or completely wiped after filming?? How did you prepare?
I know, I know. To prepare for this film, I didn't do any research, or anything like that. I did listen to music from the 70s, and watched TV shows from the 70s, and my Mom and Dad told me stories about that time. So in that way, it was easier to prepare. But it was really one of those things where you had to read the script, and reread the script. And listen to what the director and the writers wanted and needed you to do. That's the way we went about it. We all seemed to have the same ideas as to how the character should be, plus I completely trust Pete [Jackson].
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There was a lot of gorgeous imagery in this movie that I didn't imagine while reading the book, did this come from Peter Jackson? What do you think he added by making this his project?
Everyone is going to make a different movie and Pete really does seem to have very distinctive films anyway. He always manages to add some sort of fantasy aspect to this film, and I think that makes them more interesting. For many people going to see a film is about escapism, I know I enjoy movies when they aren't something that's completely realistic or something that isn't familiar. And Pete seems to be the same way. There's an awful lot of color and experimental objects, I suppose, that appear in this in-between world. There's a huge football floating on the lake, lots of things. He used so much color, it was like his imagination exploded in this in-between world.
So after doing this film, do you believe in an afterlife?
I think I might. I've heard stories from people who have seen something like souls, ghosts or spirits from people that they've lost, or people that they don't know. And energy can't be destroyed, so I do believe that our energy goes somewhere else, and you do feel it from time to time. Even Grandmother who I never got the chance to meet - I feel like she protects me. I think there could be. But again I don't want to say for sure because none of really have any proof, so we can't be positive about anything.
The next question is somewhat spoilery...
I think a lot of people are going to be really torn by what your character's spirit decides to do at the end. Because on the one hand, Susie Salmon gets the kiss she missed out on when she was alive. But on the other hand, he body is thrown into a sinkhole, possibly forever. I really thought your ghost was going to come back and kick some ass. Why did you guys decide to keep it that way? Did you discuss changing the ending?
I always felt like it was more beautiful and touching and would stay with people more if she went for the kiss. For a long time, Susie feels like people need to know where her body is. And she needs her murderer to be found out, in order for her to move on to Heaven, if that makes sense. But in the end, she realizes that it's the love for her family and the love that they have for her, and the one true thing that she's always wanted, all this help her remember and to finally let go, and it comes together with the kiss. It's quite beautiful when she's in the barley field and she's says, "I just need to do something." She's almost ready to go. Then we're not sure what she's going to do - for a long time we're thinking, "She's going to tell him." But I think it will stay with people more when she finally gets that kiss.