The Lovely Bones' Rose McIver exclusive

Jan 13, 2010 at 2:23 p.m. ET

The Lovely Bones premieres nationally January 15 and star Rose McIver shares exclusive insight into the Peter Jackson directed film.

Based on Alice Sebold's book by the same name, The Lovely Bones is a chilling tale of murder, yes, but at its heart the film is about family and the bonds that even death cannot separate.

The Lovely Bones stars Mark Wahlberg (center) and Rose McIver (left)

McIver was beside herself, as a native New Zealander, to be able to work with her countryman Peter Jackson -- the director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy -- and his tackling of Sebold's page-turner The Lovely Bones. Appearing alongside stars Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz and Saoirse Ronan, well that was an added bonus.

Isn't she Lovely?

SheKnows: I have to start, because of my sheer admiration for Peter Jackson, what was it like being directed by, well…Peter Jackson?

Rose McIver: He's brilliant (laughs). He's brilliant at everything. Everything I had heard about him, was true that he is fantastic to work with -- I love how he has such a vision for his films. He is never swayed from what he initially set out to create. As you can see by his history, he delivers.

SheKnows: Had you read The Lovely Bones before you were considered for the role?

Rose McIver: I had read the book when I first started high school when I was thirteen. I was a huge fan.

SheKnows: Oh, wow. So, this opportunity must have been extra special for you. As an actress tackling a role like this where it's based on the book that you adore, does that add to the experience?

Rose McIver in The Lovely Bones, out nationally January 15

Rose McIver: It was surreal (laughs). I never thought it would happen.

SheKnows: What was it about the book that so resonated with you?

Rose McIver: For me, it was the first time I'd read a book with such depth of subject matter. But, it deals with it in such a way, such an original way, that I have still not read a book that has such a diverse approach to grieving. Alice Sebold is able to see how so many different people are able to deal with a loss like that.

SheKnows: When you have read a book that is being made into a movie as you are with The Lovely Bones, is the process of getting your head around the character any different than when tackling a screenplay based on an unfamiliar novel or original idea?

Rose McIver: It's great because it's a huge resource to fish out your character. There's all this history and all this back story, subplots that happen in the book that color your character. But, I think that the heart of the script is true to the heart of the book.

Making a moving movie

SheKnows: This is such an intense story, was there ever times where the filming got taken home with you?

Rose McIver: No, not really. You have to create a life for yourself beyond the film. Regardless of the work, that is very important. I did really enjoy the shoot. We did have these intense scenes that carried through the whole project, but with Peter (Jackson), it was only intense when the cameras rolled.

SheKnows: We're all big fans of Mark Wahlberg, he is so multi-talented. How did you find Mark?

Mark Wahlberg looks for his missing daughter in The Lovely Bones

Rose McIver: He's brilliant. He does such a great job in playing the concerned father and friend. It's so different from the things I've loved him in before. I think he's a treasure.

SheKnows: As somebody who adores the book and as somebody who is ready to present The Lovely Bones to the world, what do you hope that people take away from the movie experience?

Rose McIver: I really hope people look at the diverse way that people grieve. I don't think there is one right or wrong way. Everybody has to go through it on their own. The story, in both the book and the film, is so great.

SheKnows: Lastly, especially being from Peter Jackson's homeland of New Zealand, did you ever think acting would take you around the world?

Peter Jackson directs Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones

Rose McIver: I have never really thought long term. I kept getting work in projects that really interested me and I enjoy. I'm just having a good time.

Read on for more The Lovely Bones

The Lovely Bones book review
The Lovely Bones trailer
The January movie guide starring The Lovely Bones
Star spotlight: The Lovely Bones star Saoirse Ronan