Wahlberg Replaces Gosling in Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones

October 22, 2007
Source: Variety

Peter Jackson's The Lovely BonesWe haven't been reporting much on the casting for Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones because it's such an extensive cast that it would be better to wait until it's entirely set. Given that the film starts shooting in Pennsylvania today, the cast is pretty much finalized - except for a rather shocking change. Ryan Gosling (Fracture, Lars and the Real Girl), who had gained 20 pounds and grew a beard for his role, suddenly left the project over the weekend due to "creative differences." This all happened very quickly, just a few days before it was to begin shooting, but they recovered swiftly. He was replaced by Mark Wahlberg, who now completes an ensemble cast of 8 great actors.

The film is an adaptation of the Alice Sebold novel of the same name. The role that Wahlberg is filling is that of Jack Salmon, the grieving father of a 14-year-old girl who is brutally raped and murdered. The girl watches the effects of her death on her family from Heaven. She tells the story and follows the lives of people around her as her parents drift apart, her father becomes obsessed with vengeance and her sister grows into the woman she would never be. Rachel Weisz plays the girl's mother. The remainder of the cast is comprised of Saoirse Ronan as the young Susie Salmon, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon, Michael Imperioli, Rose McIver, and Carolyn Dando.

The film has a $70 million budget and was scripted by Peter Jackson and his partners Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens. The script is so good that simply after reading it over the weekend, Wahlberg committed to the film on Sunday. I know I may be alone here, but I'm confident in Peter Jackson and just hearing the plot alone makes me think that this almost sounds like a Best Picture film already.

However, I'm intrigued as to the implications of why Gosling left. The public claim is "creative differences" but I don't imagine it would have anything to do with Peter Jackson, as I just said, I have a lot of confidence in him. Any thoughts?

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  • Mark Wahlberg seems like a better choice for the role anyway so I'm pretty happy with this turn of events. What I found interesting though is that pretty much the same thing happened on Lord of the Rings. Stuart Townsend had gotten the Aragorn role and was rehearsing for a month. They started shooting and from what I've heard, Peter Jackson felt that Townsend was too young to portray Aragorn, so they replaced him with Viggo Mortensen (who could imagine anyone else as Aragorn now?). If Jackson feels that replacing an actor will make the movie better, then I trust him 100%.
  • crate
    Obviously the writer doesn't watch Entourage... The script is so good that simply after reading it over the weekend, E committed to the film on Sunday. fixed
  • What does Entourage have to do with this? I don't watch Entourage unfortunately... but I'm lost at the reference?
  • Kat
    "If Jackson feels that replacing an actor will make the movie better, then I trust him 100%." It was Gosling's decision to leave the production, with Jackson left scrambling to find a last-minute replacement.
  • Heckle
    I believe Wahlberg is the producer of Entourage.
  • I loved and thoroughly enjoyed The Fellowship of the Ring. The trios re-working of the death of Boromir was something of rare, film beauty. But then the ego started to inflate and the trio deluded themselves with how the films should go. Make Gimli a comedy sidekick, give Legolas more and more ridiculous 'cool' tricks to do, make the Orcs that were tough adversaries mere cannon fodder, have more false deaths than an 80's soap opera. By the time Kong came along their script couldn't have been more overblown, ridiculous and full of a million cliches. Their films might have had great production and huge visuals but at their heart they were more concerned with impressing rather than telling a decent story. For this reason it's hard for me to get excited about any future Jackson flicks.
  • andrew
    they made all three of the Lord of the Rings movies at the same time.... So I highly doubt they added things in later to be 'cool' Granted there were some moments in Return of the King that were tricks, Legolas and the Oliphant, the Army of the Dead, and the lead Orc, but these were to engage the audience. Gimli was a comedic side kick in the first film as well. Just re watch the film, expecially the part in and after they meet Galadriel. The orcs were still touch adversaries, in Return of the King they were winning the battle until Aragorn showed up with the Army of the Dead. Kong was a remake of an old movie, an old movie which created many of the things that are cliche now. I found Kong to be a fun and enjoyable film, not anywhere near the league of Lord of the Rings, but still well done.
  • redsundance
    to Kat How do you know that it was Gosling that left, and not that Jackson had him leave? Just curious, as everyone else has only heard that it was 'creative differences'. Which means Jackson had him leave.
  • Ryan
    How does this adaptation cost $70mil.?!
  • Andrew - I am well aware that they filmed all three films at the same time. What they didn't do was edit them all at the same time and from watching the features and commentaries there was still elements of filming that took place after the first film came out. Indeed I remember hearing Peter Jackson say that after how well Legolas' cool tricks went down that they wanted to give the audience some more. You can see how they tweaked it here and there to pander to what they believed the audience did and didn't want. When they met Galadriel Gimli was amusing but hardly a clown. Asking for just three hairs on her head indicated how differently he was beginning to view the Elves (a theme that wasn't really picked up in the next films leading to the awfully clunky scene in the last battle where he comments about having to die next to an elf and Legolas responds 'what about a friend'. If the makers had done their job we wouldn’t need such a leaden line to explain to us that ‘oh right, yes of course, they are friends now’). What with falling off/riding horses backwards, over killing the joke about him not being able to see over the ramparts, the references to being tossed etc he might as well have had a custard pie slapped in his face. He was far removed from the brave and stubborn dwarf that the first film portrayed. Orcs - tough adversaries? They were being slaughtered wholesale in the Two Towers, let alone ROTK. In FOTR they ran for miles and still managed to give the fellowship a damn good kicking yet by TTT they were nothing but sword fodder that Aragorn and Gimli were annihilating by just swinging their swords around and whose only purpose was to get on the pointy end of the closest sword, spear or arrow. Regarding Kong - Remaking an old film is no excuse for keeping in the old clichés which make the original look silly now. It's like Quentin T putting in the dodgy effects in Kill Bill as an 'homage'. They did it at the time because they couldn't afford it, with Kill Bill it just looked silly and pretentious.
  • Amy
    Ryan can play any part, and do it well. Peter Jackson is an awesome director. Maybe they're personalities just didn't click well together. That does happen.




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