THE BOOK OF HENRY Jurassic World’s Colin Trevorrow promises surprises from new suspenser…
Sandwiched between director Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World and Star Wars: Episode IX is The Book Of Henry, a personal mystery-thriller made for $10m. You might compare it to The Conversation being wedged between parts one and two of The Godfather, though he’s not about to encourage comparisons to Francis Ford Coppola.
“I can’t promise this will be as good as The Conversation,” he laughs, “but it really spoke to me, not just as a storyteller, but as a person. This is about that childlike sense of right and wrong, and how, as we get older, there’s grey in the world.”
Set in a small town not dissimilar to the Vermont burg that Trevorrow grew up in, The Book Of Henry tells of single mum Susan Carpenter (Naomi Watts) and her two young sons, 11-year-old prodigy Henry (Jaeden Lieberher) and eight-year-old Peter ( Room’s Jacob Tremblay). When Henry suspects the girl next door, Christina (Maddie Ziegler), is in danger from her stepfather (Dean Norris), a perilous rescue mission ensues.
“This movie addresses serious issues, but the best way to do that is if you’re feeling it, so it has an element of suspense-thriller,” explains Trevorrow of swaddling a tale of abuse in genre trappings. But here’s the thing: the trailer is careful to only give away so much, and the writer/ director promises there are major surprises in store. “The trailer gives you the A and the C but not the middle,” he intriguingly explains. “It’s a very different experience in its entirety to what people are expecting. I’m deeply attracted to movies that abandon narrative structure and challenge the audience. I wrote Jurassic World 2 while I was directing this, and I’m also very proud of how different that is. I was able to write a Spanish horror-thriller for a director [ J.A. Bayona] I admire.”
Given Trevorrow launched his career with 2012’s Safety Not Guaranteed, a time-travel romcom shot for $750,000, it would seem that his plan for the future is to teleport between big and small movies.
“Henry is an original film rather than an established thing that’s serving something we all love, which is what both Jurassic World and Star Wars are,” he says. “It’s a thrill and an honour to make these continuations, but personally, as a filmmaker, I’m not sure I’d feel good if that’s all I ever did. The only way people can understand me and what I stand for is by the films I make. It’s my responsibility to put myself out there and see if people are interested in what I have to say or not. Just hiding behind the success of others, or standing on the shoulders of giants, can’t be all that I am.”
bedtime story Naomi Watts as single mum Susan, with her sons Peter (Jacob Tremblay) and Henry (Jaeden Lieberher).