Malvern PA Home Used in Peter Jackson Movie Recently Goes Up for Sale
If you like the idea of owning a house that was used in a Hollywood film, the house that young Susie Salmon haunted in Peter Jackson’s supernatural thriller The Lovely Bones, is up for sale.
The four-bedroom California split style home, located at 10 Bryan Avenue in Malvern Pennsylvania, was selected by Jackson because it sits on a peninsula lot in a beautiful, peaceful quiet neighborhood with views that encapsulate the neighborhood. It is a typical middle-class suburban home with a wonderful family anywhere in America.
Betty Seeley, the present owner, remembers sitting on the front porch with friends in the end of June when two women pulled into the driveway, got out of their cars, came up to the porch and said they were interested in using the house in a movie. After learning that it would be directed by Peter Jackson, she consented and gave them permission to come back tomorrow and look the house over.
The next day, a limousine bus pulled up and over 30 people piled out onto the lawn. “My husband Gus said that only three people could come into the house at a time”, she recalls.
The first ones in were the videographer, and the production manager, and the art director. They were pleased with what they saw.
After everyone left, my husband said “no movies in this house! no lights no people, I don’t want them”.
But Jackson’s people said they said they would send him anywhere he wanted to go on vacation and pay all expenses to anywhere in the world, if he would agree.
“Instead of Bali and Fiji or some other exotic place, he decided to go to his cabin in the woods in western Maryland,” Betty said.
“They also sent him with a chef and a housekeeper to make him comfortable while they filmed and I stayed at home with the crew while they filmed”.
On the eve of the filming, Peter asked if he could bring the entire crew to come see the house. Betty was beside herself and called Gus at his cabin and Gus said make them your famous chocolate chip cookies. That morning Betty served fresh baked chocolate chip cookies and Earl Grey tea to 75 fine people. She was christened “the cookie lady” and received thank you’s from the cast and crew. She gave her cookie recipe to the real estate agent, Jim Harner, so he can serve them at the open house.
Originally, Ryan Gosling was asked to play the role of Susie Salmon’s father. But on the first day of filming, Jackson decided that he didn’t look the part because he had bulked up and gotten a crew cut, and gave the role instead to an actor named Mark Wahlberg, who had that 70’s shag looking hair and looked more the part at that time.
“Word got out and everybody now wanted to come over and see him,” Betty remembers.
After looking over the home inside and out, they said they wanted the not very clean oven so they could create a realistic replica in the studio to film scenes from.
“So, they ripped out the old one, took it away, and ley me choose whatever I wanted-a brand new one,” Betty said.
They invited the entire neighborhood to a get together at the General Wayne Inn to let them know what was going on. The took the siding off of seven homes in the neighborhood for the filming, and then offered the homeowners whatever siding they wanted after the filming was over. They improved the appearance of the whole block a little.
The neighborhood was blocked during filming and they brought in trailers filled with vintage cars and the entire neighborhood cooperated.
Jackson brought in a world-famous movie landscaper landscaping and the gardens. “To this day, her flowers start blooming in the spring and keep opening up till the fall,” Betty said.
“We didn’t have a back patio, so they built a new one with swings for the kids,” Betty said.
“They packed chairs for the actors and producer and an array of electronic equipment into the garage and used it as an audio and production studio”.
The family dining scenes were shot in the home.
The Lovely Bones was produced and directed by Peter Jackson, his first film after doing The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. The movie starred Saoirse Ronan, Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci and Michael Imperioli.
In the story, based on the best-selling book by Alice Sebold, Susie Salmon is a bright pretty teenager who is murdered by a sex offender neighbor. From a dreamy CGI-generated vision of what could be heaven, she watches over her family struggle with her death and balances her thirst for revenge with her love for her grief-stricken father and family.
Even though Roger Ebert gave the movie two stars out of five, the film launched the careers of several actors and actresses and became known as a cult classic.
The Susie Salmon house goes on the market February 23, 2020.