After an acclaimed breakout turn in the bittersweet romantic drama Like Crazy, Felicity Jones is moving up the Hollywood totem pole with a leading role in Juan Antonio Bayona’s dark fantasy A Monster Calls, which Focus Features recently scheduled for release in the fall of 2016.
The film, based on the bestselling children’s fantasy novel by Patrick Ness, centers on a young boy who attempts to deal with his mother’s illness and bullying from his peers by retreating into a fantastical world filled with monsters and fairy tales. When one of the monsters follows the boy home, he begins an exchange of stories with it, leading to unexpected consequences for both of them.
Jones will likely play the mother of the young protagonist, who is still uncast. It’s just one of several buzzy projects for the young actress, as she’ll next be seen in tentpole The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in a major supporting role and will star in this summer’s period comedy Rosaline for Universal. She’s also set to play Stephen Hawking’s wife Jane in the James Marsh-directed biopic Theory of Everything.
As a major fan of Jones’ work so far, I’m excited to see what she does with her role in A Monster Calls, though the film’s quality likely rides on the performances of the boy and the monster more than hers. Rumors have been circling that Focus Features and Bayona want Liam Neeson to take on the role of the monster, but nothing is official on that front as of yet.
Bayona proved he could deliver chills and thrills in equal measure with horror film The Orphanage, and his disaster flick The Impossible cemented his status as one of Hollywood’s most interesting directors. Hopefully he’ll be able to handle the combination of fantastical visuals and emotionally wrenching storytelling needed to deliver a worthy adaptation of A Monster Calls.
A Monster Calls comes to theatres in October of 2016, which is quite a while away, but especially now that Jones is involved, it’s already high on my list of ones to watch.