'Lovely Bones' Star AJ Michalka: The Movie Is 'Amazing' & Stanley Tucci's Performance Is 'Terrifying'

It’s one of the most eagerly-anticipated movies of the next few months, and she’s one of our favorite stars, attempting to launch her grown-up movie career. So naturally, when A.J. Michalka starts talking Peter Jackson and “The Lovely Bones,” we listen.

“It comes out December 11th,” A.J. said of her first theatrical film, and first movie without sister Aly in the cast. “I’m really excited.”

Ever since the project — based on the acclaimed novel about a murdered young girl watching the events after her death from heaven — was announced, it has garnered Oscar speculation. And, echoing the statements of several others involved with the film, AJ said that we’ll want to keep a close eye on disguised-beyond-recognition veteran character actor Stanley Tucci.

“It’s ridiculous,” she said of his performance as creepy killer George Harvey. “Stanley Tucci is unbelievable in this film. It’s insane, and you don’t even recognize him. The way they changed his look for the film is incredible.”

Oscar has a way of falling in love with memorable madmen, and if the buzz is true then who knows? Maybe Stanley could become the next Hannibal Lecter for his work as Harvey.

“He is terrifying. I have one scene with him in the cornfield, but not a lot where we’re actually interacting with each other,” revealed the 18-year-old younger half of 78 Violet. “I saw some of his work already, and I was just like ‘Oh gosh!’”

The only thing that may be more astounding about “Bones,” Michalka added, was Jackson’s unique view of heaven. The “Lord of the Rings” filmmaker watched old episodes of “the Partridge Family” for inspiration, and designed a 70’s—era afterlife for the little girl in the film.

“He was pretty under-wraps on set when it came to the whole heaven thing,” she said, eager to get a glimpse at more of the finished product. “No one really knew what he was going to do, which I thought was really cool. And then once I saw the trailer and saw the sizzler [reel] and some other clips when I was doing ADR, I was like “Wow, that’s what he was going for? That was amazing.”

Will “Lovely Bones” be the movie to beat this awards season? If not, what’s your top contender?