This beloved book finally makes its way to the cinema with Oscar-winner Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson and new-comer 13-year-old Sophie Nelisse in the title role. Watch our interview to find out what the lead actress stole in real life and how her mom dealt with her short crime spree.
Geoffrey Rush and Sophie Nélisse
The King’s Speech actor stars as Hans Hubermann, the “Papa” to little Liesel, played by French-Canadian actress, Sophie Nélisse. They have an intense connection on and off screen and are the heart and soul of this movie that’s set in Nazi Germany.
Darling Sophie will win your heart as young Liesel, a girl who stole her first book at her little brother’s funeral. Given up by her destitute mother, Liesel goes to live with the Hubermanns (Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson), where she will come to love her Papa with all her heart and be taught the power of words by a Jew (Ben Schnetzer), whom they are hiding in their basement.
Before earning the role of Liesel, Sophie Nélisse was an accomplished gymnast who had to choose between training for the upcoming Rio Olympics or making this movie. We believe she made the right choice.
When we asked her how being a gymnast helps her acting, she said, “When you’re doing gymnastics, you have to be super concentrated. Let’s say you’re on the beam and you’re doing a flip… if you’re not concentrated, you could just fall and injure yourself. So, you always have to be aware of what’s around you. And I think it helped because when I get on set, I’m aware of where the cameras are, if I’m going to cover this light. Or if I hear a noise in the background, not to just forget my lines.”
When we asked Nélisse why young people should see this movie, she said because it will show them that, “In every bad situation, there’s good, that even if you’re not rich you could still be happy.” We think those are excellent reasons!
Book author Markus Zusak and film director Brian Percival
If you’ve read the book The Book Thief, you know the emotional impact of Markus Zusak’s words. We asked this sexy-wonder-from-down-under to share his thoughts on the power of words.
“Well, where do I start?” laughed the 38-year-old writer, seemingly lost for words for the very first time. “I always thought of the book as being about that place in time when you’ve got Hitler destroying people with words. On the other hand, you have a girl stealing them back and writing her own story with them — and it’s a beautiful story. It culminates in the idea of [Leisel and Max] painting over the pages of Mein Kamph, as happens in the film as well, and they can write their own story over top of it.”
He continued, “Words make us who we are. It’s how we articulate ourselves. And what we’ve done and who we want to become.” Words well-said!
When we asked The Book Thief author if he ever committed his own acts of thievery, he told us, “That’s how I’ve lived my whole life! I was the youngest of four, so if you didn’t steal anything , you didn’t get anything.”
What are some items that got the five-finger discount? “Pens, pencils and a couple of books,” Markus said. Hmmm, we’re beginning to see a theme developing.
You may know director Brian Percival best from his work on Downton Abbey. When we asked why he was drawn to this story, he said, “It made me laugh, it made me cry. It’s a story about human spirit and how that can be so powerful, how that can change your life if you have that spirit despite the most terrible things the world can throw at you.”
Then the Brit then gave some sage advice, “Taking control of words can help you take control of your life.” We think it’s worth giving it a try.
The Book Thief opens in theaters Nov. 8. Be sure to bring your Kleenex!