by director Brian Percival
The Book Thief is a movie about… the power of words. For the story’s young heroine, Liesel, words become a means of escape—and even joy—from the tumultuous events enveloping her and everyone she knows and loves.
Of course, before it was a movie, The Book Thief was a wonderful novel from Markus Zusak. His story’s scope, its triumphant protagonist, its testament to endurance and its depiction of the magical nature of the written word was irresistible to me as a filmmaker.
I embraced Markus’ idea that the power of words can both destroy and heal, depending on how we use them. Liesel begins to understand that you can use words for good as well as for evil. This allows her to change her life and make choices that she would not have had before she picked up a book. That’s the key to her spirit.
Moreover, I personally connected to the story. I come from quite a poor background. We started out with very little, and the desire was always to try and achieve something, which, in my case, was to make films. Later when I went to art school I remember how people taught me to look, particularly through books, at the world in a different way and so consequently live life in a different way.
As The Book Thief arrives in cinemas around the world, I want to again express my gratitude to a wonderful cast, headed by Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson and Sophie Nélisse, a gifted team of filmmakers, and to everyone at Fox 2000 Pictures. This film would not have been possible without their talents, guidance, support and encouragement.
And a special thank you to our Maestro, the legendary John Williams, whose score establishes and reinforces the film’s themes and characters.