Emily Watson, Sophie Nelisse, Geoffrey Rush to Star Book Thief Movie

The film version of Markus Zusak’s best selling novel, The Book Thief, is in pre-production. The book has won several awards and stayed on the New York Times best-seller list for over four years.

Emmy-winning director Brian Percival is on-board to direct the adaptation based on a script by Ben Schnetzer (Happy Town) and Nico Liersch. Newcomer Sophie Nelisse will play the lead role of Liesel Meminger, while Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson will play Nelisse’s foster parents.

The Book Thief will start shooting later this month in Berlin, and it is currently scheduled for release on January 17, 2014.

The story takes place in Germany during WWII, and follows the life of a young girl named Liesel Meminger. She is forced to live with foster parents after her mother can no longer take care of the two kids, Liesl and her brother. On the way to their new house, Liesl's brother dies. He's buried immediately and as the people leave from the graveyard, she sees the book, and she takes it as a reminder of this time in her life, and determined to learn how to read and write…