“It’s like a dream role,” she enthused, nearly jumping up and down with excitement. “I’m playing the best friend of the girl who gets murdered. I was flipping out [when I heard I won the part]. I’m really, really stoked.”
The film, an adaptation from the best-selling novel by Alice Sebold, follows the aftermath of a young girl’s brutal rape and murder. The girl, 14-year-old Susie Salmon, watches her family and friends from the afterlife, observing them as they struggle to cope with her terrible demise.
AJ will play Clarissa, Susie’s best friend in life. Fans of the novel will recall that Clarissa plays a part in one of the story’s turning points, when Susie’s father, Jack, attacks her and her boyfriend Brian in a cornfield, believing them to be George Harvey, Susie’s murderer. Brian manages to subdue Jack with his own baseball bat, whacking him in the knee. But it’s not the action that has AJ amped – it’s who she gets to perform the action with, namely recent Oscar nominee Ryan Gosling who is playing Jack Salmon.
“I have a really emotional, intense, freaky scene with Ryan. It’s gonna be crazy,” she smiled. “He was so incredible in ’Half Nelson.’ It’s just great for me as an actress to grow and work with such amazing people.”
In addition to Gosling, the cast also includes Oscar winners Susan Sarandon and Rachel Weisz, and Stanley Tucci and Michael Imperioli.
“The whole cast is amazing. Peter, he’s amazing,” AJ said. “It’s gonna be cool. It’s gonna be really cool.”