J. A. Bayona

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J. A. Bayona
Bayona en la alfombra roja de los Premios Goya 2017 (cropped).jpg
Bayona at the 31st Goya Awards in February 2017
Juan Antonio García Bayona

(1975-05-09) 9 May 1975 (age 47)
OccupationFilm director
Years active1999–present

Juan Antonio García Bayona[1] (born 9 May 1975[2][3]) is a Spanish film director.

He directed the 2007 horror film The Orphanage, the 2012 drama film The Impossible, and the 2016 fantasy drama film A Monster Calls. Bayona's latest film is the 2018 science fiction adventure film Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the fifth installment of the Jurassic Park film series. He has also directed television commercials and music videos. He will direct the first two episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

Early life[edit]

Bayona was born in Barcelona, Spain. The first movie he ever watched was Richard Donner's Superman (1978) which inspired him to be a director.[4] He studied at the Escola Superior de Cinema i Audiovisuals de Catalunya (ESCAC).[5] At age 19 he met Guillermo del Toro at the Sitges Film Festival presenting Cronos (1993) and Bayona recognized him as a mentor there.[6] After their initial conversations, del Toro promised to aid Bayona in the future if he were ever in the position to do so.[6]



After graduating from ESCAC he began his career directing commercials and music videos. At the age of 20, he signed his first contract as audiovisual producer for the Spanish band OBK. After three years working with them, he was awarded the Premios Ondas for the music video "Tú sigue así".[5][7] Since then, he has become the principal director of the group Camela and was commissioned to illustrate the piece "Cómo repartimos los amigos", in which the duo Ella Baila Sola bid farewell to their audience.

He has also directed music videos for Pastora Soler ("En mi soledad"), Fangoria, Nena Daconte ("El Aleph"), Enrique Bunbury and Miren Iza ("Frente a frente"), in which the original singer Jeanette appears at the end of the video. In 2012 he created the music video for "Disconnected" by the British band Keane.

In 1999 he directed the short film My Holidays and in 2002 The Spongeman.


In 2004 Bayona met writer Sergio G. Sánchez, who was working on the short 7337. Sánchez offered Bayona the script for The Orphanage.[8] In order to create the film he wanted, Bayona had to double both the film's budget and its runtime. He was assisted by Guillermo del Toro, who offered to co-produce it. The Orphanage premiered on 20 May 2007, at the Cannes International Film Festival, where it received a standing ovation lasting more than ten minutes. Months later, on 11 October 2007, it premiered in Spanish cinemas and grossed $8.3 million.[9][10]

Bayona was awarded the Goya Award for Best New Director in 2008. The film was nominated for 14 categories of Goyas, and won 7.[9][11] In October of that same year, Variety announced that Universal Studios had signed a contract with Bayona to adapt the film Hater by David Moody, written by Glen Mazzara and produced by Guillermo del Toro.

Bayona was one of the many candidates considered to direct The Twilight Saga: Eclipse but was not interested in making the film.[12]


In August 2010 he began filming The Impossible, based on the experiences of a Spanish family that lived through the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake.[13][14] Filmed in English and starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, the film was released on 11 October 2012, to positive critical response. In its first weekend it grossed $8.6 million, breaking the record for the best opening in the history of the Spanish box office. The Impossible was nominated for the Oscar and Golden Globe Awards in the category of Best Actress for the interpretation of Naomi Watts. The film was also nominated in 14 categories at the Goya Awards, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Actor (Tom Holland), of which it won five awards. In 2013 The Impossible received a National Film Award in the framework of the 61st International Festival of San Sebastián.

Bayona at the 2018 Tokyo premiere of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

In March 2012 Bayona directed the music video "Disconnected", the second single from the album Strangeland by the British band Keane. The band has stated that it admires Bayona's film work, and Bayona has said he follows the music of Keane. On 11 September 2016, Keane released a music video for an exclusive new song, "Tear Up This Town", written and recorded for the fantasy drama film A Monster Calls, directed by Bayona. The single was made available for digital download on 23 September 2016.[15]

Bayona was responsible for directing the first two episodes of the Penny Dreadful series, created by John Logan and originally released on Showtime. Filmed in Dublin, the series tells the story of a group consisting of a rich man, a medium, a gunman and a young doctor, all looking for the rich man's missing daughter. To do this, they must cope with strange beings and Victorian era literary characters like Frankenstein, Dracula and Dorian Gray. The series has a lot of its creator, according to Bayona.

In 2014, Bayona began shooting the film A Monster Calls, an adaptation of the novel by Patrick Ness, starring Lewis MacDougall, Felicity Jones, and Liam Neeson. The film, which was released in 2016, tells the story of a young boy (MacDougall) who cares for his mother (Jones), ill with cancer, while befriending a monster (Neeson). With this film, Bayona closed his personal trilogy about mother-child relationships.[16]

In 2018, Bayona next directed the science fiction sequel Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.[17] The film received mixed reviews from critics but it was a major commercial success, becoming the third-highest-grossing film of 2018 and the 12th-highest-grossing film of all time.

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.[14][18]

Bayona directed the first two episodes of the upcoming Amazon Prime Video series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, filmed in New Zealand from 3 February 2020 and scheduled to premiere on 2 September 2022.[19][20]


Short films[edit]

Year Title Director Writer Executive
1999 Mis vacaciones Yes Yes No
2003 El hombre Esponja Yes Yes Yes
2008 La Desgracia en 3D Yes Yes No
2015 9 días en Haití Yes Yes No Documentary short
No me quites No No Yes

Feature films[edit]

Year Title Director Writer
2007 The Orphanage Yes No
2012 The Impossible Yes No
2016 A Monster Calls Yes No
2018 Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom Yes No
2023 Society of the Snow Yes Yes

Executive producer

  • Marrowbone (2017)
  • I Hate New York (2018) (Documentary)


Year Title Director Executive
2014 Penny Dreadful Yes No Episodes "Night Work" and "Séance"
2022 The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Yes Yes 2 episodes

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Title Award Category Result
2008 The Orphanage Goya Awards Best New Director Won
2012 The Impossible Detroit Film Critics Society Best Director Nominated
2013 Goya Awards Best Director Won
Gaudí Awards Best Director Won
Capri Awards Capri Director Award Won
Capri European Director Award Won
Cinema Writers Circle Awards Best Director Nominated
2016 A Monster Calls Goya Awards Best Director Won
2017 Gaudí Awards Best Director[21] Won
Premios Feroz Best Director[22] Nominated


  1. ^ Escales, Carme (16 October 2013). "De esconder que era de 'la Trini' pasé a sentir orgullo". El Periódico de Catalunya (in Spanish). Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  2. ^ Murguía, Salvador Jimenez; Pinar, Alex (18 May 2018). The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Spanish Films. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 420. ISBN 978-1-4422-7133-3. Retrieved 20 June 2018 – via Google Books. Juan Antonio Bayona was born in Barcelona on May 9, 1975.
  3. ^ @JurassicWorld (9 May 2017). "Wishing a very happy birthday to @FilmBayona, Director" (Tweet). Retrieved 20 June 2018 – via Twitter.
  4. ^ "J.A. Bayona here, director of a Monster Calls. AMA!". 6 January 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Honorary Chairman & Guests > Juan Antonio Bayona". Osaka European Film Festival. 2008. Archived from the original on 16 March 2009. Retrieved 13 January 2009.
  6. ^ a b "The Orphanage – Juan Antonio Bayona interview". IndieLondon. Retrieved 27 October 2008.
  7. ^ "Juan Antonio Bayona dirige el nuevo videoclip de OBK". Don Musica (in Spanish). Retrieved 13 January 2009.
  8. ^ "Quint interviews Juan Antonio Bayona and Sergio Sanchez about the nifty horror flick The Orphanage". Aintitcoolnews. 12 October 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2008.
  9. ^ a b "'El Orfanato' left off Oscar shortlist". thinkSPAIN. 16 January 2008. Retrieved 27 October 2008.
  10. ^ Bresnan, Conor (17 October 2007). "Around the World Roundup: 'Ratatouille' Squashes Competitors". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 19 January 2022.
  11. ^ "The Orphanage Awards". AllMovie. Archived from the original on 26 April 2006. Retrieved 27 October 2008.
  12. ^ Goldstein, Patrick (27 April 2009). "TOLDJA! Nikki Finke rewrites history". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  13. ^ Fleming, Mike (2 May 2010). "Summit Acquires Naomi Watts-Ewan McGregor Drama 'The Impossible'". Deadline. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  14. ^ a b Hopewell, John (14 May 2009). "'Orphanage' duo to reunite". Variety. Retrieved 25 May 2009.
  15. ^ "New Keane song for 'A Monster Calls' film". KeaneMusic.com. 16 September 2016. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  16. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (23 April 2014). "Felicity Jones To Star In Juan Antonio Bayona's 'A Monster Calls'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  17. ^ Goldberg, Matt (18 April 2016). "'Jurassic World 2': J.A. Bayona Confirmed to Direct". Collider. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  18. ^ Fleming, Michael (9 October 2008). "Bayona to direct Universal's 'Hater'". Variety. Retrieved 13 January 2009.
  19. ^ "'The Lord Of The Rings': J.A. Bayona To Direct Amazon Series". Deadline. 3 July 2019. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  20. ^ "'Lord of the Rings' Series at Amazon Enlists J.A. Bayona to Direct". Variety. 3 July 2019. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  21. ^ "Guardonades - IX Premis Gaudí". Academia del Cinema. 29 January 2017. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  22. ^ "La lista completa de ganadores de los premios Feroz 2017" (in Spanish). El Huffinton Post. 23 January 2017. Retrieved 25 January 2017.

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