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Word of advice: when you go and see this film, make sure to bring a pack of tissues with you, because this one right here is a tear-jerker.

Based on the New York Times bestseller, The Book Thief chronicles the story of a brave young girl named Liesel who, after witnessing the death of her younger brother, is forced to live with a foster family in World War II Germany.

With a burning passion to learn how to read the book left at her brother’s gravesite, the illiterate Liesel and her foster father Hans begin to read daily. When WWII breaks out, Hans and his wife Rosa shelter and hide a Jewish refugee named Max. While witnessing the dreadfulness of Nazi Germany, young Liesel must survive by holding on to her passion for books and story telling.

The Brian Percival-directed film includes Hollywood royalty Geoffrey Rush as Hans and Emily Watson as his wife Rosa. It also introduces new-face Sophie Nelisse as the film’s protagonist. Nelisse, already gaining critical acclaim for her role as Liesel, is a force to be reckoned with.

The Book Thief 2

The 13-year-old who decided to star in the film and not go to the Olympics (yes, she was headed there prior) has already been awarded the coveted Hollywood Spotlight Award for her portrayal. We can totally see why!

GlobalGrind had the chance to chop it up with Rush, Watson and the precocious Nelisse at the famous Waldorf Astoria Hotel to hear their thoughts on everything from books to Instagram addictions. Check out just what the powerhouses had to say below:

On the value of books:

Emily Watson: I’m very much a book person. I work with kids who are learning to read. It is also a great thing to have in your house. There is nothing as cool and glamorous as a wall of books, I think. You look instantly warm, cultured and intelligent.

Sophie Nelisse: I read books because I just prefer turning the pages. I just don’t like going sweep on my iPad. It is more fun when you do it yourself, but I do use electronic devices a lot. I’ve been addicted to Instagram and all that stuff. No, but I think reading is really important. I want to try and get all my friends and other people to read a bit more and even my dad. I think reading is important because for the time that you read, you are not yourself, you’re in your (my term) little bubble, just you and no one else and you get to imagine some things.

On how Rush mastered the art of learning the accordion for the film:

Geoffrey Rush: I love a task, it takes your mind off acting in a way, like in all the pirate films, I love the fact that I had two or three sword fight routines and it would take a couple of months or some good discipline to earn them. The script was fairly specific about when Hans would play the accordion, and I liked that because he is not a particularly verbose character, he lives in his own kind of bubble-world, but the accordion moments for me were like my monologues because they always served, to some degree, a dramatic function of communicating or empathizing with her [Liesel].

On bringing social awareness to younger generations:

Sophie Nelisse: I read “Anna’s Suitcase” in the sixth grade, and I didn’t know a lot on the Holocaust, so I had to watch a lot of movies like Schindlers’ List, The Reader, The Boy in The Striped Pajamas, The Pianist and when I was in Berlin, I went to see some bomb shelters and I read a bit on the history and I just think that my generation – these kids don’t really know a lot on this period, so I wanted to do the movie because my friends are gonna go see it and then maybe they are going to talk, they are going to know a bit more.

Check out the trailer below and don’t forget to go see the movie when it hits theaters November 15.


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