Juan Antonio García Bayona (born 9 May 1975) is a Spanish film director. He is best known for directing the 2007 horror film The Orphanage, the 2012 drama film The Impossible, and the 2016 fantasy drama film A Monster Calls. Bayona's next 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.
Bayona was born in Barcelona, Spain. He has a twin brother, Carlos García Bayona, whom he acknowledged in an interview as standing in for him on at least one occasion (his twin purportedly spent a whole night receiving congratulations for The Orphanage).
He studied at the Escola Superior de Cinema i Audiovisuals de Catalunya (ESCAC). At age 19 he met Guillermo del Toro at the Sitges Film Festival presenting Cronos (1993); Bayona there recognized him as a mentor. After their initial conversations, del Toro promised to aid Bayona in the future if he were ever in the position to do so.
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". 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 ("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. 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 May 20, 2007, at the Cannes International Film Festival, where it received a standing ovation lasting more than 10 minutes. Months later, on October 11, 2007, it premiered in Spanish cinemas and grossed $8.3 million.
Bayona was awarded the Goya Award for Best New Director in 2008. The film was nominated for 14 categories of Goyas, and won 7. 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.
In August 2010 he began filming The Impossible, based on the experiences of a Spanish family that lived through the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. Filmed in English and starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, the film was released on October 11, 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.
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.
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. It was announced on April 18, 2016, that Bayona would direct Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.
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.