The popular children's book is created for the big screen starring Liam Neeson and newcomer, Lewis Macdougall. Rough cut (no reporter narration)
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: A teenage boy's struggle with his mother's terminal illness takes a surreal turn when he finds comfort in a giant talking tree monster, in the emotional fantasy drama "A Monster Calls." The film follows the story of Connor, a quiet, artistic teenage boy who becomes a target for the school bully. "I guess really I would use experiences in my own life to try and understand what Connor's feeling," Lewis Macdougall said of his performance as Connor. "There is the fact that I had to do an English accent, which I'm Scottish, of course. So I had to do a bit of dialect coaching for that. I actually had a couple weeks of rehearsal with everybody, including Liam, so that was very helpful," added Macdougall who was recently nominated for a Critics' Choice Award. As his mother, played by Felicity Jones, gets sicker from cancer, Conner goes to live with his cold, reserved grandmother, played by Sigourney Weaver. In the midst of his life crumbling around him, Connor is visited at night by a giant talking yew tree monster voiced by Liam Neeson. Weaver said she was touched by the story and explained how she and Jones researched their roles. "Felicity and I and Bayona (J.A. Bayona, director) we did meet with doctors in England, cancer specialists. We also went to hospice to see what the challenges of taking care of someone in last stages of cancer would be. So we did kind of fill up on that. And I know she also met with women survivors of cancer." The film is adapted from the children's book of the same name by Patrick Ness, and director J.A. Bayona incorporated watercolor animations to illustrate the stories of good and evil. "A Monster Calls" premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and was released across Europe in October and will have a wider U.S. release on December 23.