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'The Lovely Bones' premiere: Stanley Tucci, Peter Jackson, Saoirse Ronan, Rachel Weisz

December 8, 2009 | 10:10 pm

Bones
Here in the wilds of Hollywood and thereabouts, we like to remind ourselves that age is only a number. Ahem. Well, that goes both ways. At “The Lovely Bones” premiere at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood on Monday, it was clear who was steering that particular ship aiming for Oscar heaven, and her Wikipedia entry only has one section: "Early Life,"

Bonesrefer

That’s right, we’re not talking about Peter Jackson. OK, yes, he did direct the film, and “Bones” is very much his baby.

But holding together the film – and the cast – was the radiant Saoirse Ronan (SUR-shuh RO-nuhn), who was busy being nominated for Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA awards last year, when most of her peers were trying on lipstick at the mall.

(Click on the picture at right for more shots from the premiere red carpet and after party.)

Ronan, 15, plays the film’s central character, Susie Salmon, who’s murdered by her skeevy neighbor, played by Stanley Tucci. Wafting down the red carpet in a backless champagne-colored silk gown, seemingly oblivious to the evening drizzle, she talked about how difficult it was to play the murder scene.

For Tucci, that is ...

Bonesx"It wasn’t a hard thing for me to do,” Ronan said in her light Irish brogue. “I think it was tougher for Stanley because he’s a father himself. So I’d constantly be making sure that he was OK, because I was just worried about him. We all were, really."

Later, at the post-party at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the two clasped hands and posed for photographers. Hey, it’s just acting folks. Nothing to see here. Move along.

A good time was had by all, and not just because of the lovely spread and open bar (which doesn’t hurt). Introducing the screening, Jackson celebrated the official "Bones" opening “because it means we have no more work to do on the film. We believe in working on it until the studio takes it out of our hands, which they did 10 minutes ago."

(Jackson had eight additional months to work on the film in postproduction after Paramount pushed the release date from March to December, in the hope of snagging an Oscar.)

One nice Jacksonian touch in the film: “Bones” is set in 1973, and there’s a shot of a bookstore window with a big J.R.R. Tolkien poster touting “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, which was big at the time – and big again this decade when Jackson made the books into blockbuster movies.

Also braving the Arctic chill were Steven Spielberg, an executive producer, and costars Rachel Weisz, Michael Imperioli, Susan Sarandon, Rose McIver, Amanda “AJ” Michalka, Reece Ritchie, Nikki Soohoo and Christian Ashdale.

— Irene Lacher

Photos: Stanley Tucci and Saoirse Ronan, top, at the after party for the premiere of Paramount Pictures' "The Lovely Bones" at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on Dec. 7, 2009. Ronan's costar Michael Imperioli caught up with her on the red carpet. Credits: Kevin Winter / Getty Images, top; Alex J. Berliner / Berliner Studio / BEImages, left.

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