J.A. Bayona may have broken through to the mainstream with disaster drama The Impossible, but the helmer has proven a furious talent in the horror genre. His 2007 chiller The Orphanage ranks among the most spine-tingling horror films of this century, and he’s since honed his instincts on episodes of Showtime’s Penny Dreadful. Now, he’s gearing up for a dark, almost Guillermo del Toro-esque fantasy in A Monster Calls, adapted from the book by Patrick Ness, and early signs are very promising.
Lewis MacDougall stars as a 13-year-old boy named Conor who, bullied at school and traumatized by his mother’s terminal illness, escapes into a fantasy world populated by a looming tree monster. When said monster follows him home, however, things take a turn for the strange. Liam Neeson is playing the aforementioned monster through motion capture, with Sigourney Weaver playing Conor’s grandmother and his parents being portrayed by Felicity Jones and Toby Kebbell.
The project is currently in post-production, but a story in Spanish magazine Fotogramas (re: Collider) has revealed our first look at star Liam Neeson in a motion-capture suit, in front of a little statue of the movie’s pint-sized protagonist (that should give you a sense of how dauntingly massive Neeson’s character, the titular monster, really is).
Here’s the synopsis for Ness’ novel, which was inspired by an idea by the late Siobhan Dowd:
At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting– he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd– whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself– Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined.
A Monster Calls will arrive in October of 2016.