My biggest worry with Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones has been that the tone might not match up to the haunting beauty of the screenplay. As we all know, Jackson has a tendency to go garish with his situations and characterizations; this is fine for The Frighteners or even Heavenly Creatures, but too much of that Kiwi zaniness could completely throw off this very delicate concoction (which, you’ll recall, made me cry like a big pussy).
So I don’t quite know what to do with Susan Sarandon’s candid (as ever) comments posted over at the MTV Movies Blog. Cast as the eccentric Grandma Lynn, Sarandon says, "I play kind of the comic relief. She’s [a] drinking, hard shooting, smoking [old lady] cutting across all of the pain, pain, pain. Whenever I possibly can blow smoke in someone’s face I’m doing it!"
That’s three-quarters of the character on the page, but there’s got to be more than just sass; ergo, it’s a good thing that Sarandon, one of the most emotionally adroit actresses working today, is on the case. All is well, right?
Then she goes and says this: "I haven’t figured out the tone of the movie, I’m still trying to figure out exactly what it is. It’s going to be a strange jumble of things…, but Peter Jackson did Heavenly Creatures. It’s [a lot] like that."
It’s a little like that. The primary difference is that it’s much more conventionally sentimental, which could mean an excess of sap (are Kong and Ann Darrow still exchanging longing looks?), or a more reined-in Jackson. It’s got to be the latter for this thing to work. Though you’ll get plenty of Jackson-esque visual flourishes (I know this because they’re written into the script with exacting detail), he’s got to evince a soft touch for, arguably, the first time in his career.