Susan Sarandon is about to play a grandmother in one of the best novels of 2002, but I was taken aback when I first read that last week -- is she really grandmother-age already? Anyway, I tend to trust Peter Jackson's decision-making (as long as an oversized ape is not involved.) He'll of course be directing an adaptation of Alice Sebold's novel, The Lovely Bones. It's an incredible story about a young woman who is abducted, raped and murdered; we follow the aftermath from her point of view as she rests in heaven, looking over the lives of her family and her killer. She (and we) watch as some family members try to get on with their lives, the sister grows into adulthood and the killer continues on his own journey. The book is a tragic, compelling story that could really benefit from a big-budget, big-screen push, and the fantastical but true-to-the-source world of Lord of the Rings that Jackson created is proof enough that he can balance his own creativity with honoring an author's vision.

The film has not only nabbed Sarandon, but another favorite of mine, Stanley Tucci, to play the murderer. Playing the kid watching everything from above will be newcomer Saoirse Ronan. And, of course, the cast also includes Rachel Weisz and Ryan Gosling. Production begins this fall and the pic will probably be ready for release by fall of 2008.