Based on the beloved bestselling book, The Book Thief tells the inspirational story of a spirited and courageous young girl who transforms the lives of everyone around her when she is sent to live with a new family in World War II Germany. Book lovers everywhere have been waiting for this amazing story by Markus Zusak to make it to the big screen. The Book Thief is told by the perspective of Death and is a an uplifting but incredibly sad story. Zusak described the book and the movie as being, ‘a story about a time in Germany where Hilter was stealing to words from the nation and a little girl was stealing them back.’ Which I thought summed it up beautifully.
Yeah, Let’s Go sat down to talk with the adorable Sophie Nelisse, the talent behind Liesel. As well as director Brian Percival and the author of The Book Thief, Markus Zusak. Sophie is a sweet Canadian girl who originally had plans to be an Olympic gold medalist one day. She told us that it was amazing shooting the film in Berlin because she was able to take in the rich history all around her. That there ‘was still a feel to the area, with posters and walls of information about parts of history, so walking through the city was great for learning.’
It was interesting to hear that Zusak gave Brain Percival free creative control over the film. Most authors want to stay involved in the making of the book, but Zusak explained to me that after hearing horror stories about the process, like writers getting sacked from the project, I got a look into a the real reason he wanted to keep his hands off the project. Zusak tells us that writing The Book Thief left him ‘really empty’ when he finished. He couldn’t even write afterwards, which he described as a ‘5 year hangover.’ When you write such a powerful story, it’s bond to keep a piece of you.
The story stemmed from Zusaks family stories that they brought with them from Germany to Australia in the 50’s. ‘It’s really rare that you get more than one or two story tellers in your life that also have amazing stories [of their own] and I had two of them under the same roof,’ Zusak explains. After hearing these stories he knew that was where he would start and ‘it turned into this book that I really love and means everything to me.’
You can see the love in every corner of this story. The relationship between Liesel (Sophie Nelisse) and Hans (Geoffrey Rush) was such a relief during such a heartbreaking time. I spoke with a few ladies in the theater that have read the book to find out what the most striking differences were from the book and the movie, here is what they had to say.
‘The movie brought to life the friendship between Max and Liesel in a way much different than portrayed in the books. It invoked a stronger sense of love and sibling-hood than that seen in the book because Liesel was actually able to acknowledge it as such (something that we didn’t really see her do in the book).’ – Zavi F.
‘In the novel Death is a sarcastic and quick-witted narrator. He appears as just another guy struck by the misery and horror of WWII. Death is the laid back brother who will shock you with incredible wisdom. The movie, however, gives a more omnipotent view of Death. His voiceovers lack the humor found within the pages of Mark Zusak’s work.’ – Sarah S.
The Book Thief is a powerful story that I hope you’ll all go out and see or read. It’s much more than a Nazi Germany story. It’s a journey into a book lovers life. The movie is out in theaters now.