A Chester County home used in a production by director Peter Jackson more than a decade ago will hit the market later this month.
Located at 10 Bryan Ave. in Malvern, the house was featured prominently in Jackson’s 2010 movie The Lovely Bones, which is based on Malvern-raised author Alice Sebold’s 2002 novel of the same name. Set in 1970s Norristown, the story follows protagonist Susie Salmon, a 14-year-old rape and murder victim who watches over her family from heaven after her tragic death
Jackson came to town to scout filming locations for the movie in 2007, when he was fresh off his 2005 adaptation of King Kong. Ultimately, according to an Inquirer report from that year, the director and his crew reviewed about 75 locations for the local filming, and settled on 10 Bryan Ave. as the Salmon family home.
Other area locations used for the shoot would come to include South Brandywine Middle School in Coatesville, MacDade Mall in Delaware County, and Main Street in Royersford, among others.
Homeowner Betty Seeley, 83, purchased the three-bedroom, split-level house in 1963 with her late husband. Now, she is moving on from Malvern to be with family in Massachusetts, real-estate outfit James Harner Group told the Inquirer.
Seeley was present for much of the filming, which lasted from October to December 2007 and brought stars like Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, and Saoirse Ronan to the area. Her husband, meanwhile, hightailed it to his cabin in Maryland for the duration of filming at 10 Bryan Ave., according to a 2010 edition of the WillisTowne Crier Newsletter.
Crews primarily used 10 Bryan Ave. for exterior shots in the film, though scenes featuring the Salmon family having dinner together were shot in the home. The remainder of interior shots were filmed in a nearby studio, where filmmakers recreated several of the home’s rooms.
Jackson and his cohorts also modified the exterior of the home — as well as a number of other homes on the block — to appear more period-correct to the 1970s, and reverted some changes after the production wrapped. Seeley’s home, for example, received a new brick patio out back, a new oven, and a makeshift production studio setup in the garage.
Changes on the block, a 2007 Inquirer report indicates, included the addition of rooftop TV antennas, metal trash cans, and period patio furniture to about 20 split-level houses in the area. A release, meanwhile, adds that several homes were stripped of their vinyl siding for the shoot, after which crews replaced the siding. Vintage vehicles were also trucked in and parked along the street.
Seeley ultimately became known as “The Cookie Lady” among the movie’s production crew, thanks to her habit of serving chocolate chip cookies and Earl Grey tea — a type of tea favored by a character in The Lovely Bones — to crew members when they were working at the house.
Today, about 13 years after filming wrapped, the house is still known to some locals as the “Lovely Bones home,” the realty group indicates. Released in January 2010, the film received mixed reviews (including from the Inquirer), and has an overall score of 32% on movie review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.