Juan Antonio Bayona

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Juan Antonio Bayona
J. A. Bayona portrait.JPG
Bayona in 2012
Born Juan Antonio Bayona
(1975-05-09) May 9, 1975 (age 39)
Barcelona, Spain
Occupation Film director, filmmaker, film producer, screenwriter
Years active 1999–present
Notable work The Orphanage, The Impossible
Awards Best New Director
Best Director

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[edit]

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).[1] During the 1993 Sitges Film Festival in Spain, Bayona met director Guillermo Del Toro, who was presenting his film Cronos.[2] After their initial conversations, Del Toro promised to aid Bayona in the future, were he ever in the position to do so.[2] 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.[1][3] Bayona directed two short films My Holidays (Spanish: Mis Vacaciones) in 1999 and The Spongeman (Spanish: El Hombre Esponja) in 2002.[1]

In 2004, Bayona met Sergio G. Sánchez who was working on his short film 7337 and offered Bayona his script for The Orphanage.[4][5] In order to create the film as he wanted, Bayona had to double both the film's budget and the amount of filming time.[6] 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.[6] The Orphanage (El orfanato) premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 20, 2007 and received with a ten minute ovation from the audience.[7] 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.[7][8] The Orphanage earned Bayona the award for Best New Director at the 2008 Goya Awards in Spain.[9] Bayona was one of the many candidates to direct The Twilight Saga: Eclipse but was not chosen and not interested in making the film.[10]

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.[11][12] 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.[12]

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.[13]

Future projects[edit]

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.[11][14] 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.[15]


Year Title Awards
1999 My Holidays
2002 The Spongeman
2004 Sonorama
2007 The Orphanage Goya Award for Best New Director
Goya Award for Best Adaptated Screenplay
Nominated – Goya Award for Best Film
2012 The Impossible Capri Awards for Best Director
Capri Awards for Best European Director
Gaudí Awards for Best Director
Gaudí Awards for Best European Film
Goya Award for Best Director
Nominated – Goya Award for Best Film
Nominated – Detroit Film Critics Society for Best Director
Nominated – Detroit Film Critics Society for Best Film
Nominated – Las Vegas Film Critics Society for Best Film
2014 Penny Dreadful
2016 A Monster Calls


  1. ^ a b c "Home > Program 2008 > Honorary Chairman & Guests > Juan Antonio Bayona". Osaka European Film Festival. Retrieved January 13, 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "The Orphanage - Juan Antonio Bayona interview". indieLondon. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  3. ^ "Juan Antonio Bayona dirige el nuevo videoclip de OBK". Don Musica (in Spanish). Retrieved 2009-01-13. 
  4. ^ "Quint interviews Juan Antonio Bayona and Sergio Sanchez about the nifty horror flick The Orphanage". Aintitcoolnews. 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  5. ^ "About the Screenplay". Picturehouse. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  6. ^ a b "About the Production". Picturehouse. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  7. ^ a b "'El Orfanato' left off Oscar shortlist". thinkSPAIN. January 16, 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  8. ^ Conor Bresnan (2007-10-17). "Around the World Roundup: 'Ratatouille' Squashes Competitors". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  9. ^ "The Orphanage Awards". Allmovie. Retrieved 2008-10-27. 
  10. ^ Goldstein, Patrick (April 27, 2009). "TOLDJA! Nikki Finke rewrites history". LA Times. Retrieved June 24, 2010. 
  11. ^ a b Hopewell, John (2009-05-14). "'Orphanage' duo to reunite". Variety. Retrieved 2009-05-25. 
  12. ^ a b Fleming, Mike (May 2, 2010). "Summit Acquires Naomi Watts-Ewan McGregor Drama 'The Impossible'". Deadline. Retrieved June 24, 2010. 
  13. ^ http://www.deadline.com/2014/04/felicity-jones-to-star-in-juan-antonio-bayonas-a-monster-calls/
  14. ^ Fleming, Michael (2008-10-09). "Bayona to direct Universal's 'Hater'". Variety. Retrieved 2009-01-13. 
  15. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (December 10, 2013). "'World War Z' Sequel Digs Up A Director". IndieWire. Retrieved December 10, 2013. 

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