J.A. Bayona’s most recent feature film as director was The Impossible, starring Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, and Tom Holland; it was based on the powerful true story of a family’s survival of the tragic Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. The Impossible grossed more than $180 million at the worldwide box office and brought Ms. Watts Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Academy Award nominations. Mr. Holland received honors including an Empire Award for Best Newcomer. The Impossible won five Goya Awards, which are Spain’s Oscars equivalent, including Best Director; and six Gaudí Awards, including Best Director.
Prior to making A Monster Calls, Mr. Bayona directed the first two episodes of Showtime’s series Penny Dreadful, starring Eva Green, which instantly attracted a loyal following. Having completed A Monster Calls, he will next direct the new Jurassic World movie, for release in June 2018.
Born in Barcelona, he grew up with a passion for film. This led him to become a journalist and later to study directing, at the Cinema and Audiovisual School of Catalonia (ESCAC).
After directing two short films, My Holidays and The Sponge Man, Mr. Bayona met screenwriter Sergio G. Sánchez, who gifted him with the script for The Orphanage, which became his first feature as director. The Orphanage world-premiered at the 2007 Cannes International Film Festival to a 10-minute standing ovation. It was then released nationally in Spain, and its opening four-day box office was the highest of the year and at the time the second-highest ever for a Spanish film.
The Orphanage was nominated for 14 Goya Awards, winning seven including Mr. Bayona’s for Best New Director.