It's the second film from an Academy Award-winning director after the mega-million dollar smash trilogy that made him a household name. The just-announced lead actress is an Oscar winner herself. The source material is a best-selling, critically acclaimed novel -- but, as The Guardian's Patrick Goldstein explains in an article about costs and risks in modern Hollywood, Peter Jackson's adaptation of The Lovely Bones is anything but a sure bet -- especially with a $70-million price tag. Rachel Weisz's casting was announced earlier this week, but Goldstein's piece focuses on another character's role in The Lovely Bones -- namely, the murderous (and as-yet uncast) Mr. Harvey.

Other media outlets have had access to Jackson's script -- much to DreamWorks's dismay -- but The Guardian actually posts an excerpt verbatim, detailing Mr. Harvey's planning and preparing to commit the murder that drives the film's plot -- ostensibly to demonstrate that it's rich, dark material that'll give Jackson plenty to work with. Goldstein doesn't post verbatim excerpts from the project he compares to The Lovely Bones to demonstrate development challenges -- Michael Mann's untitled '30s Hollywood thriller with Leonardo DiCaprio attached to star and a script by John (The Aviator) Logan.

The one question that Goldstein's piece doesn't raise is, to me, the most important: Is The Lovely Bones something audiences will want to see? Alice Sebold's novel is rough stuff -- and it's hard to imagine the crowds of teens who rushed theaters for the Lord of the Rings films and their spectacle racing to embrace this dark domestic drama. The Lovely Bones is set to reach theaters in 2008 -- a long wait to see if DreamWorks's gamble will pay off ....

categories Movies, Cinematical