The Book Thief, the Michael Petroni-scripted adaptation of the best-selling Marcus Zusak novel.
Open casting calls went out across the USA and Europe to find the special young girl needed to play Liesl Meminger, the strong-willed "book thief" of the title.
12 year old French-Canadian youngster Sophie Nélisse, who starred in last year’s Oscar-nominated foreign film Monsieur Lazhar, has landed the role. Liesel experiences life in Nazi Germany with her eyes wide open and seeks solace in the written word. Having lost her brother and mother, Liesel is sent to Himmel Street to live with foster parents where her curiosity and interest in books makes her steal them and her spirit and determination mean she is not afraid to do so. A great deal has been taken away from her. She steals books to settle the score. Liesel is feisty and spirited, she isn't afraid of the school bully or the SS soldiers. Liesel forms important close relationships in her new life with her kind foster father, the loveable boy down the street and her special confidant, the young Jewish man living in her basement.
Nico Liersch will play Rudi Steiner, Liesel's best friend described as having a heart of gold and a lust for life.
Ben Schnetzer, and American actor in his final year at Guildhall drama school in London will play the refugee Max who Liesl befriends.
Australian-born Geoffrey Rush and English actress Emily Watson are set to play the foster parents.
Brian Percival is attached to direct The Book Thief, and production is expected to begin in Berlin this month.