Patrick Ness on the changes to bring A Monster Calls to the screen


Patrick Ness on the changes to bring A Monster Calls to the screen

A Monster Calls is in cinemas now, and it's a visually and emotionally spectacular film from J.A. Bayona, the director of The Impossible.

The film is adapted from the book by Patrick Ness, and is all about a young boy called Conor who is struggling to deal with his mother's illness. At night, he's visited by a monsterous creature, who is voiced by Liam Neeson in the movie version.

Ness got the chance to adapt his own book for the screen but as we all know there are a lot of differences between novels and films. And in the case of A Monster Calls a number of changes were made, including dropping a major character and inventing some impressive new visuals.

We got the chance to chat to Ness a few weeks back and asked about the process towards making these changes. And they're all about getting across a certain feeling:

"[Director] Bayona had ideas that he wanted to elicit - like he wanted to bring out the idea of legacy, what you leave behind for your kid and I thought that was a lovely idea so I planted a lot of seeds which could pay off in different ways."

This also ties into the ending, and into the very different ways in which you experience a book and film:

"And the ending… a book you can set down, a movie you can’t so you had to make a change from the book. It has to be a moment of breath and it was a lovely idea Bayona had and again I planted seeds so it could pay off in this way."

Again the idea is to get across a certain feeling and while the film is certainly emotional, it isn't designed to be a overwhelming sad experience: "The whole goal with the book is sad but not bleak. I think there’s hopefulness there, though it’s very sad. And this was a good way to do it cinematically."

It's always interesting to see how these projects get changed along the long road to appearing in cinemas, and it's great that the original writer got the chance to bring his own work to the screen.

A Monster Calls is in cinemas now.

Patrick Ness on the changes to bring A Monster Calls to the screen on
About this author
Movie Editor
Recent Articles by this author
11 January, 2017
Beijing KFC has become one of the first fast-food restaurants in the world to use...
11 January, 2017
Apple’s next flagship iPhone is expected to feature a design reminiscent of...
8 January, 2017
When Apple released the iPhone 7 Plus last year they promised that more features...
8 January, 2017
Mass Effect Andromeda is coming out on the 23rd of March, a release date that was...