Juan Antonio Bayona (born May 9, 1975), commonly known as J. A. Bayona, is a Spanish film director. In addition to directing television commercials and music videos, Bayona is best known for directing the 2007 horror film The Orphanage and the 2012 drama film The Impossible.

Life and career

Juan Antonio Bayona

Bayona was born in Barcelona, Spain. He grew up with a passion for films. This fervor first lead him to become a journalist; later, it motivated him to study directing at the Cinema and Audiovisual School of Catalonia (ESCAC). During the 1993 Sitges Film Festival in Spain, Bayona met director Guillermo Del Toro, who was presenting his film Cronos. After their initial conversations, Del Toro promised to aid Bayona in the future, were he ever in the position to do so. Following his graduation from ESCAC, Bayona started his career directing commercials and pop videos for famous Spanish musical groups, including OBK, Hevia, Ella Baila Sola and Camela. Bayona directed two short films My Holidays (Spanish: Mis Vacaciones) in 1999 and The Spongeman (Spanish: El Hombre Esponja) in 2002.

In 2004, Bayona met Sergio G. Sánchez who was working on his short film 7337 and offered Bayona his script for The Orphanage. In order to create the film as he wanted, Bayona had to double both the film's budget and the amount of filming time. To accomplish this, Bayona received help from fellow film director Guillermo del Toro who offered to co-produce the film as soon as he learned about it. The Orphanage (El orfanato) premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2007 and received with a ten minute ovation from the audience. The Orphanage had a wide release in Spain on October 11, 2007 and was immensely successful in Spain after an $8.3 million four-day launch from 350 screens. The film was the second highest-grossing debut ever for a Spanish film and was the biggest opening of the year, making it even larger than the worldwide success of the Mexican-Spanish film Pan's Labyrinth. The Orphanage earned Bayona the award for Best New Director at the 2008 Goya Awards in Spain. Bayona was one of the many candidates to direct The Twilight Saga: Eclipse but was not chosen and not interested in making the film.

In May 2009, Variety reported that Bayona would again work with screenwriter Sergio G. Sánchez, on The Impossible, a film by Madrid-based Apaches Entertainment, Telecinco Cinema, and Spongeman, Bayona's own Barcelona-based label. Summit Entertainment acquired the rights to The Impossible, which starred Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor. The Impossible was based on a true story that took place during the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.

Bayona's next film is set to be A Monster Calls, a dark fantasy about a boy who learns lessons from a monster, based on the Patrick Ness children’s novel. Felicity Jones and Liam Neeson are in talks for the roles of the mother and the Monster's voice respectively.

Future projects

Back in October 2008, Variety announced that Universal Studios had signed Bayona to direct Hater, an adaptation of British author David Moody's thriller novel about an epidemic of violence caused by regular people. The film will be written by Glen Mazzara and produced by Guillermo Del Toro and Mark Johnson. In December 2013, it was reported that Bayona was chosen to direct a sequel to the zombie-action film World War Z, taking over the reins from Marc Forster.


Juan Antonio Bayona


Juan Antonio Bayona

External links

  • Juan Antonio Bayona at AllMovie
  • Juan Antonio Bayona at the Internet Movie Database
  • Juan Antonio Bayona at Rotten Tomatoes

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