Focus Features seems to think Patrick Ness' dark fairy tale fable A Monster Calls could make a hell of a movie, and having read the book, I really can't agree hard enough. It's good news, then, that Deadline reports the studio has made a huge deal to release the film, and has set Juan Antonio Bayona to direct it.
Bayona seems pretty ideally suited for the story – which Ness has adapted for the screen himself – of a young boy dealing with bullies at school and a dying mother at home by conjuring a terrifying tree monster who forces him to confront the darkest parts of himself. Certainly, the visuals should be in great hands. That image above is one of the gorgeous illustrations accompanying the book, which is a great example of just how primed this is for the cinematic treatment.
I will say I found Bayona's last film, The Impossible, a bit too heavy on horror and a bit too light and contrived on the human, emotional elements, but it really would take a lot to screw up the emotional aspects of A Monster Calls. By the end, it's pretty much heartbreaking, no matter how it's filmed.
Production begins this fall for a 2016 release. Oh my god I can't wait.