Although the Holocaust is a well-visited subject for Hollywood, Geoffrey Rush says he was struck by how The Book Thief — based on the 2007 novel by Marcus Zusak — offers “another different perspective on everything.” Rush, who has an Oscar for 1996’s Shine and three subsequent nominations, plays Hans, an adoptive father who’s trying to survive World War II and Nazi Germany. Directed by Brian Percival, the film introduces 12-year-old actress Sophie Nelisse as Hans’ daughter, Liesel, and features Emily Watson as the patriarch’s hardbitten, overbearing wife. Although the role was relatively light on dialogue, Rush says learning to play the accordion connected him strongly to his character.
Related: Can 20th’s Under-The-Radar Entry ‘The Book Thief’ Steal A Spot In The Oscar Race?
AwardsLine: What struck a chord with you when you read the script for The Book Thief?
Geoffrey Rush: I think I got about five pages into it and thought, this is a remarkable story. It’s already got me hooked. It’s not what you call a soft opening, to meet this 10-year-old girl whose 6-year-old brother dies on page one. Then in the next scene, her mother’s a Communist and gets taken away. I can’t think of many films that start with a 10-year-old with a burden that’s comparable to Hamlet’s. Read More »
Listen to (and share) episode 49 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Deadline’s awards columnist talks with host David Bloom about last weekend’s big Deadline event, The Contenders, including behind-the-scenes conversations with T-Bone Burnett and Oscar Isaac on Inside Llewyn Davis; the passion that the late Laura Ziskin brought to getting The Butler made even as she was nearing death; Jonas Cuaron on levitating Gravity into a hit; and Robert Redford’s heavy breathing as dialogue in All Is Lost.
We’ll also talk about the line between drama and comedy in this awards season, and what it might mean for Golden Globes nominations for performers such as Vince Vaughn, who brings the comedic cargo to Delivery Man.
Finally, we’ll get Pete’s take on this week’s new movie releases, including the massive Marvel superhero sequel Thor: The Dark World, possible awards contender The Book Thief and dystopian thriller How I Live Now.
Deadline Awards Watch, Episode 49 (MP3 format)
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Listen to (and share) Episode 48 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Deadline’s awards columnist and host David Bloom preview this weekend’s big Deadline event The Contenders; ponder whether the Motion Picture Academy will have better luck with its “simplified and upgraded” online Oscar-voting system this year; and three hot late additions to this year’s Oscar race in The Wolf Of Wall Street, Lone Survivor and The Book Thief. Finally, we’ll get Pete’s take on this week’s new movie releases including sci-fi adaptation Ender’s Game, the animated Free Birds, romantic comedy About Time from Richard Curtis, the “geriatric Hangover” comedy Last Vegas, Oscar-contending drama Dallas Buyers Club and the biopic Diana.
Deadline Awards Watch, Episode 47 (MP3 format)
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Here’s the official international trailer for The Book Thief, the Fox 2000 film that’s stealthily entering awards season. When it bowed at Mill Valley, my colleague Pete Hammond wrote it played to a “huge standing ovation.” The movie is based on Markus Zusak’s No. 1 best-selling novel and follows a young girl in Nazi Germany who seeks refuge in books while her family hides a young Jewish man in the basement of their modest home. Brian Percival directed stars Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Sophie Nélisse and Ben Schnetzer. The Book Thief is released domestically on November 8th.
It wasn’t a printing error, or sabotage by the Koch brothers, that left pages 9 and 10 largely blank in the Gray Lady this morning. It was part of Fox‘s marketing campaign for its upcoming film The Book Thief. The New York Times says that this is the first time it has run “two consecutive, seemingly blank, back-to-back pages in the A (Main News) section.” The qualifier “seemingly” is appropriate because the pages have the paper’s logo, the date and page number — and at the bottom of the second page Fox included the URL for the film’s website, wordsarelife.com. The Times’ advertising standards team had to approve Fox’s concept to promote the film, which opens November 15, the paper says. “The underlying message of the advertising campaign, ‘imagine a world without words,’ echoes the film’s narrative, which follows a young girl in WWII Nazi Germany who begins to steal books from war-torn areas and share them with others,” according to The Times. My colleague Pete Hammond says that The Book Thief could become an under-the-radar Oscar contender. Fox hired publicity firm 42West to aid the cause. The film is based on Markus Zusak’s best-selling novel and features Geoffrey Rush — and music from five-time Oscar winner John Williams.
Listen to (and share) episode 45 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Deadline’s awards columnist and host David Bloom wrap up the latest news out of the New York Film Festival, led by the premiere of Ben Stiller’s remake of The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty; a winning film adaptation of the best-selling WWII drama The Book Thief that may have some stealthy awards ambitions; whether possible radical changes can fix the perennially controversial Oscar foreign-language film-selection process; and the long, loving TV Academy tribute to one of its stalwarts, omnipresent comedy producer/director James Burrows. Finally, Pete gives his take on this week’s new movie releases, including Captain Phillips, the intense Paul Greengrass telling of the kidnapping by Somali pirates of a ship’s captain played in fine form by Tom Hanks; the action sequel Machete Kills, directed by Robert Rodriguez and featuring Danny Trejo; and a traditional take on Romeo And Juliet, with Hailee Steinfeld and Douglas Booth.
Deadline Awards Watch, Episode 45 (MP3 format)
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Could The Book Thief come out of nowhere to pull off a heist in this year’s Oscar race? While distributor 20th Century Fox seems to be putting most of its marbles on this weekend’s New York Film Festival launch of its big Christmas Day release, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, the studio has concurrently picked another festival, the lower-profile but respected 36-year-old Mill Valley Film Fest, to World Premiere its stealth entry into awards season. The Book Thief played to a huge standing ovation at its Thursday night unveiling on the Northern California fest’s opening night. Tonight co-star Geoffrey Rush will be the subject of a tribute there. Based on Markus Zusak’s No. 1 best-selling novel, the story set in Nazi Germany during World War II finds a young girl seeking refuge in the world of books while her family hides a young Jewish man in the basement of their modest German home. As they did earlier today with Mitty, Fox has had simultaneous screenings on their lot for bloggers and critics, which is where I caught it yesterday. Read More »
Brian Percival (Downton Abbey) directs Michael Petroni’s adaptation of Markus Zusak’s NYT bestseller, about a young girl with a voracious appetite for books living in Nazi Germany as the war escalates around her. Emily Watson, Geoffrey Rush, Sophie Nélisse, and Ben Schnetzer star. Fox 2000 will release the pic November 15. Here’s the trailer: