liam neeson a monster calls

Anyone who’s ever seen Taken knows that Liam Neeson can be pretty damn intimidating on the big screen when he wants to. Even so, it’s not often that he gets to play an out-and-out monster. But he’ll soon get his chance in Juan Antonio Bayona‘s A Monster Calls, based on the acclaimed novel by Patrick Ness. Hit the jump for more details on Neeson’s latest role.

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A Monster Calls

Last December, Juan Antonio Bayona booked his highest-profile gig yet: the sequel to World War Z. But before he gets around to directing zombies, he’ll first be reckoning with tree monsters.

The Spanish filmmaker has signed on to direct A Monster Calls, a Black List script written by Patrick Ness based on his own acclaimed novel. The premise suggests a potent combination of fantasy, horror, and drama a la Pan’s Labyrinth — and what do you know, Pan’s Labyrinth producer Belen Atienza is on board as well. Hit the jump for plot details and more.

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Penny Dreadful

Sam Mendes and John Logan worked together to bring us Skyfall in 2012, and they’re teaming for the next Bond movie as well. But before that gets going, they’re reuniting for a very different kind of project.

Showtime’s Penny Dreadful is a sort of horror mash-up, weaving famed monsters like Dracula, Frankenstein’s monster, and Dorian Gray together into one spooky Victorian-era yarn. Josh Hartett plays the dashing but complicated hero, and Eva Green (another Bond alum, come to think of it) is the mysterious heroine. Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage) directed the first two episodes. Hit the jump to check out the new trailer.

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World War Z Brad Pitt

Briefly: Brad Pitt is back to produce and star in the sequel to World War Z, but this one will have a new director as Marc Forster will not return. Juan Antonio Bayona (aka J.A. Bayona), who made The Impossible and The Orphanage, will direct the sequel. While there are arguments to be had over The Impossible, the disaster sequence in that film alone suggests that Bayona will be right at home with the big sequences in this film.

No one is set to write yet, and we don’t know how the plot of this sequel will jump off from the Wales-set finale of the first film, but Bayona will work with the writer to shape the script. (Which will hopefully be properly finished before cameras roll this time, to prevent some of that third-act scrambling that cost the first production so much time and money.)

Unusually for a tentpole release, Paramount has not yet set a release date, but expect that to happen soon. 2015 anyone? And this one has got to get a subtitle rather than a number, as World War Z 2 looks a bit like World War Zzz, and no studio wants to suggest we should snooze through the sequel. [THR]

Girl Meets World (1)

I suppose 32-year-old Ben Savage is technically old enough to have a 13-year-old daughter, but it still feels weird to see him playing the proud dad instead of the confused kid on Girl Meets World, doesn’t it? Also after the jump:

  • Darren Aronofsky and HBO ditch Michael Chabon‘s Hobgoblin
  • FX’s The Strain adds John Hurt; Liv Tyler is one of HBO’s Leftovers
  • Guillermo del Toro has guest directed something on The Simpsons
  • Juan Antonio Bayona will direct Sam MendesPenny Dreadful
  • Channing Tatum will produce a show by Pete from Happy Endings
  • Almost all of CBS‘s shows will premiere the week of September 22
  • Netflix will return to Eli Roth‘s Hemlock Grove for a second season
  • Charlie Sheen gets Selma Blair fired from Anger Management
  • Dan Harmon is sorry he said those mean things about Community Season 4
  • Girl Meets World is a go; see proud parents Cory and Topanga in new pics
  • Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan are Masters of Sex in a new trailer

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Briefly: Juan Antonio Bayona, a disciple of Guillermo Del Toro, first directed The Orphanage. He followed that with The Impossible, which garnered Naomi Watts an Oscar nomination. Next up, the former music video director will follow his famous friend to Warner Bros. where he’ll direct an untitled sci-fi film written by Eric Roth (Forrest Gump, Munich, The Insider) and produced by Kevin McCormick (Gangster Squad).

There’s no word on what it’s about but Roth is a hugely talented screenwriter and him teaming with Bayona is something to keep an eye on. [Variety]

For about a year now, Let Me In and Cloverfield director Matt Reeves has been attached to a new theatrical film based on The Twilight Zone. It was just one of several projects on the director’s plate and certainly the most high profile. In that time, multiple writers had been tasked with writing a screenplay but, with nare a greenlight in sight after a year, it seems Reeves has decided to move on. He will no longer direct Warner Bros. new Twilight Zone movie.

Instead, he’s now become the frontrunner to replace Rupert Wyatt as the director of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. Also on the short list behind Reeves: J Blakeson (The Disappearance of Alice Creed)Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later), Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter), Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy), Juan Antonio Bayona (The Impossible) and Rian Johnson (Looper). Read more after the jump.

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Five years after making his feature debut with the Guillermo del Toro-produced ghost story The Orphanage, filmmaker Juan Antonio Bayona is back with The Impossible, which deals with an entirely different kind of fear. Instead of tangling with things that go bump in the night, the family at the center of the new film are facing the less fanciful terrors of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts star as a couple on winter vacation in Thailand with their three sons when tragedy hits. Torn apart in the chaos, the family struggles to reunite as they help and are helped by strangers along the way. Watch the new trailer after the jump.

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