Novel con­cept

THE BOOK OF HENRY Juras­sic World’s Colin Trevor­row prom­ises sur­prises from new sus­penser…

Total Film - - Teaser -

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).

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