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After spending so much time, and emotionally intense time at that, making THE BOOK THIEF, based on the best-seller by Marcus Zusak, it’s only natural that the film’s director, Brian Percival, and his two co-stars should develop the sort of easy rapport that was very much in evidence on October 4, 2013 when I talked with them about their film. It was also natural that between takes, as Sophie Nelisse and Geoffrey Rush discussed, things could get a little silly. It’s a way of coping with the darkness of the story. Nelisse plays Liesel, a foster child taken from her Communist mother by the Nazis, and, after the death of her brother, placed in the foster home of good-hearted Hans (played by Rush) and his dour wife,Rosa (Emily Watson). Though the story is dark, full of neighbor turning on neighbor in the small German village where they all live, there is also a persistent, even INsistance, in also discovering the light and the goodness in some people that can’t be entirely extinguished.
The film co-stars Emily Watson as Rosa, Nico Liersch as Rudy, the lemon-haired boy who befriends her, Ben Schnetzer as Max, the Jewish refugee hidden by Hans and Rosa, and Roger Allam as the narrator, Death. Percival directed from a script by Michael Petroni. His previous work includes directing Downton Abbey. Nelisse made her screen debut as a grief-stricken student in MONSIEUR LAZHAR, while Rush’s previous work includes playing the Marquis de Sade in QUILLS, Francis Walsingham in both ELIZABETH and ELIZABETH: THE GOLDEN AGE, a pirate captain in the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN franchise, and winning an Oscar™ as troubled pianist David Helfgott in SHINE.
Click on the link to listen to the interview (17:15) THE BOOK THIEF — Sophie Nelisse, Brian Percival & Geoffrey Rush Interview.