It definitely seemed that Peter Jackson was taking his time with casting his big screen version of Alice Sebold's bestseller, The Lovely Bones, but we're now one step closer with Variety reporting that Irish actress Saoirse Ronan has been cast as Susie Salmon, the victim of a brutal crime at the hands of a local serial killer. The story revolves around the 'ghost' of the young murdered girl who watches her family and friends grieve from her spot in a 'personalized afterlife'. Ronan only has a handful of credits, and most of them are in television, but she has been busy this year with the film adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel Atonement with Keira Knightley, where she plays a vindictive girl who falsely accuses a man of a crime. Ronan is also set to star in the Fox Walden fantasy film City of Ember, based on the novel by Jean DuPrau.

Last month, James had news of an excerpt from Jackson's script, and based on that, it sounds like Jackson has been putting his time to good use since the collapse of the live action Halo film last year. In May, he began shopping the project around before he finally settled on Dreamworks; the studio had been trying for years to secure the film rights to the novel, so the deal seemed to work out for everyone. Already signed to play Ronan's parents are Ryan Gosling and Rachel Weisz, so, the only missing piece of the puzzle seems to be the role of the young girl's murderer. Bones is set to start shooting this October, so I would expect to hear at least one more casting announcement soon, so stay tuned.