French-Canadian child actress Sophie Nelisse lands lead in adaptation of Mark Zusak’s “The Book Thief”

February 4, 2013 | Posted By In Casting | 1492 Views

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The adaptation of Mark Zusak’s bestseller “The Book Thief” is coming together fast as THR reports major casting is now complete on the Brian Percival-directed film. Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson will play foster parents in the story that has three young lead characters. French-Canadian child actress Sophie Nelisse landed the titular lead character of Liesel, while fellow unknowns Ben Schnetzer and Nico Liersch will presumably play the roles of Max and Rudy, respectively.

Nelisse’s Liesel, as the title suggests, has a penchant for stealing books. The book follows her as she is orphaned and lands in the care of Hans and Rose Hubermann (Rush and Watson), who are tough but genuinely care for the young girl (Thenardiers, they are not). Liesel learns to read and witnesses the horrors of World War II while bonding with Rudy, the boy next door, and Max, a Jewish refugee her foster parents are hiding in their home. Filming is slated to begin later this month in Berlin.

Nelisse is best known for her Genie-Award winning role in “Monsieur Lazhar”, Canada’s Oscar-nominated Foreign Language entry of 2011. She will make her English-language debut on “The Book Thief.”


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Linda is currently a Film Reporter at TheWrap. She studied Film & Digital Media at the University of California. She likes David Fincher, New York City, and cats. She founded Up&Comers in 2010. You can find more of her random ramblings, 140 characters at a time, on Twitter @lindazge.