Stories are the wildest things of all. -- The Monster
Directed by J.A. Bayona (The Impossible, The Orphanage), A Monster Calls is a visually spectacular and stunningly emotional drama based on the award-winning novel. The screenplay adaptation is by the book’s author, Patrick Ness. Mr. Ness wrote the novel from an original idea by the late Siobhan Dowd.
12-year-old Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall) is about to escape into a fantastical world of monsters and fairy tales. He is dealing with his mother’s (Felicity Jones) illness, which has necessitated Conor’s spending time with his less-than-sympathetic grandmother (Sigourney Weaver). His daily existence at his U.K. school is one of academic disinterest and bullying by classmates. As Conor’s father (Toby Kebbell) has resettled thousands of miles away in the U.S., the boy yearns for guidance.
He unexpectedly summons a most unlikely ally, who bursts forth with terrifying grandeur from an ancient towering yew tree and the powerful earth below it: a 40-foot-high colossus of a creature (portrayed in performance-capture and voiceover by Liam Neeson) who appears at Conor’s bedroom window @12:07 one night – and at that time on nights thereafter. The Monster has stories to tell, and he insists that Conor hear them and powerfully visualize them. Conor’s fear gives way to feistiness and then to looking within; for, The Monster demands that once the tales are told it will be time for Conor to tell his own story in return. Ancient, wild, and relentless, the Monster guides Conor on a journey of courage, faith, and truth.
A Focus Features presentation in association with Participant Media/River Road Entertainment of an Apaches Entertainment/Telecinco Cinema/A Monster Calls, AIE/La Trini production. Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, Lewis MacDougall, and Liam Neeson. A Monster Calls. Make-up and Hair Designer, Marese Langan. Costume Designer, Steven Noble. Sound Designer, Oriol Tarragó. Casting, Shaheen Baig. Music, Fernando Velázquez. Editors, Bernat Vilaplana, Jaume Martí. Production Designer, Eugenio Caballero. Director of Photography, Óscar Faura. Co-Producer, Sandra Hermida. Executive Producers, Patrick Ness, Jeff Skoll, Bill Pohlad, Jonathan King, Mitch Horwits, Patrick Wachsberger, Enrique López Lavigne, Ghislain Barrois, Álvaro Augustin. Produced by Belén Atienza. Based upon the novel written by Patrick Ness from an original idea by Siobhan Dowd. Screenplay by Patrick Ness. Directed by J.A. Bayona. A Focus Features Release.