Peter Jackson will direct ''The Lovely Bones.'' After ''King Kong,'' the Ringmaster will adapt the bestseller narrated by a murdered girl

By Gary Susman
Updated January 18, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

After he finishes filming his King Kong remake, due later this year, Peter Jackson is going back to seemingly unfilmable literary adaptations. No hobbits this time, though. Variety reports that Jackson’s next project is a big-screen version of Alice Sebold’s recent bestseller The Lovely Bones. In an unusual deal, the director paid for the film rights out of his own pocket and will write a complete screenplay on spec (along with his Lord of the Rings screenwriting partners Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens) before shopping the project to a studio early next year. A fall 2007 release is projected for the adaptation of Sebold’s novel, which tells the story of a murdered girl, Susie Salmon, looking down from Heaven as her family copes with the aftermath of her slaying. Sebold is deliberately vague in describing Heaven ”because Alice wanted your imagination to do the work and decide what Susie’s heaven looks and feels like,” Jackson told Variety. ”We will have to show something on film. It has to be somehow ethereal and emotional, but it can’t be hokey.”

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