"Reality is a scam."


Spanish filmmaker Juan Antonio Bayona has placed his work in the realm of the imaginary. He gives us details.


From dreams to reality

I have always had an instinctive relationship with the stories I am asked to direct. My fellow filmmaker, Julio Medem, says, "first you dream and then you look for the meaning of these dreams". Great films are those that go beyond words.

I grew up watching both fantasy and horror films and then the European cinema that was broadcast on television: Kubrick, Truffaut, etc... This formed the basis of my cinephilia.



The monster holds the solution that unblocks the situation of which the protagonist is unaware. It comes to wake you up before giving you access to a new reality. But the monster is always ourselves, the adult in us. During the preparation of A Monster Calls, while talking to a psychiatrist friend about the script, I decided to transform the physical appearance of the monster so that it looked like a man.



MC-Bayona-Loic-BENOIT-1 © Loic Benoit



Since childhood I have always tried to distance myself from reality because it seemed like a scam. The first time was when I went to see Tarzan in New York at the cinema with my father. There's a scene where he jumps off a bridge into the river to escape the police. It was great. Then my father said to me, "You know that if he does that in real life, he ends up dead". I still feel like a child because I approach films first through emotion.


First steps

When I was 15 or 16 years old, I got into the Sitges Fantastic Film Festival by pretending that I was hosting a film programme for a radio station association. I saw fifty films a week and was also invited to do interviews with the directors present, such as Alejandro Jodorowsky and of course Guillermo del Toro. The latter told me that my questions were entertaining, and I ended up making my first film, The Orphanage, which he produced.

Geraldine Chaplin is in all my films. This gives me the opportunity to talk to her, a legend. She has seen the whole of the 20th century in her lifetime. I remember once talking to her for ten minutes about the Capote film and she told me that she had known him. When I was a kid, every time I saw her, especially in Carlos Saura's works, she scared me, all the more so because they were like strange films about ghosts without ghosts. That's why I wanted to work with her.



MC-Bayona-Loic-BENOIT-2 © Loic Benoit



The Lord of the Rings series that I directed and produced for Amazon will drop soon. I directed the first two episodes and supervised the following six. In January, if all goes well, I will be shooting in Spanish again. It will be the first time in fourteen years.


Reported by Carlos Gomez


Categories: Lecture Zen