20th Century Fox's adaptation of Markus Zusak's The Book Thief looks like a contender to elbow its way into the awards season reckoning, while jostling for the affections of the legions who've read and loved the Australian author's novel around the world.
It's unlikely to stir up the same kind of fanaticism as, say, Twilight or The Hunger Games, but that firm foothold in the young adult (and older adult) pantheon brings pressures of its own for the filmmakers. The A-grade cast, featuring the combined talents of Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson and likely star of show Sophie Nélisse, bodes very well though, as does the meticulous period detail, demonstrated by these new stills, that should offer its Nazi Germany setting maximum authenticity.
Nélisse, once of Monsieur Lazhar, plays the titular hardback-cracker, Rush and Watson the foster parents charged with her welfare after her mother is arrested and her brother dies in transit. Tragedy is a constant bedfellow but her strength of character, newfound love of language and friendship with a local boy called Rudy and a Jewish refugee in hiding helps her not only survive, but flourish. Well, kinda.
What to expect? Well, if you took The Pianist, The Boy In The Striped Pajamas and Heimat, added a shake of magical Grimm brothers-ness, shook them up and poured out the results, it'd probably be nothing whatever like Brian Percival's film. But, hey, it's late and we're on the clock.
However The Book Thief turns out, we can't wait to see the results. It's out on January 31, 2014 and you can check out the trailer here.