Peter Jackson talks The Lovely Bones, plus a new image

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

USA Today has posted one of the first images from Peter Jackson's upcoming film adaptation of Alice Sebold's The Lovely Bones, above.

Jackson also updated the newspaper on the production of the film, about teenager Susie Salmon, who watches from heaven as her family collapses after her murder.

"I found the book to be curiously optimistic," Jackson told the newspaper by e-mail from New Zealand, where he's finishing the film. "I felt inspired by Susie's struggle to come to terms with her own death. In the face of overwhelming grief, she finds hope. She holds on to love, and by doing so, she transcends the horror of her murder."

The film stars Saoirse Ronan as Susie and Stanley Tucci as her killer. The Lovely Bones is slated for a Dec. 11 release.