Actor to replace Gosling in lead role

One day before shooting began, Mark Wahlberg stepped in to replace Ryan Gosling in “The Lovely Bones,” the Peter Jackson-directed adaptation of the Alice Sebold novel for DreamWorks.

Wahlberg has taken the role of Jack Salmon, the grieving father of a young girl. That role was vacated Friday by “Lars and the Real Girl” star Ryan Gosling, who stepped out after gaining 20 pounds and growing a beard for the job. Sources attributed the exit to creative differences.

After reading the script, Wahlberg quickly committed Sunday. He joins Rachel Weisz as a couple whose world is shattered after their daughter is murdered. The girl watches over her family and her killer from heaven. Jackson wrote the script with Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens.

The film begins shooting today in Pennsylvania, where Wahlberg most recently wrapped the lead in the M. Night Shyamalan-directed “The Happening” for Fox. It is Wahlberg’s first time working with Jackson, though the filmmaker did an on-screen stint last season on “Entourage,” the HBO comedy series Wahlberg exec produces.

Wahlberg also recently committed to star with Brad Pitt in the Darren Aronofsky-directed “The Fighter” at Paramount. That picture is expected to begin production next fall.

Wahlberg’s repped by Leverage and Endeavor.

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