Huddersfield and Hollywood come together in the form of Sigourney Weaver, who stars in A Monster Calls, which opens today.
The fantasy drama about a boy and a talking tree/beast, based on the acclaimed book by Patrick Ness, was shot on location across the Pennines in late autumn of 2014.
Among the locations were Marsden, Saddleworth and Linthwaite, with Colne Valley High School doubling as the young hero’s school and renamed Thomas F. Aldridge Comprehensive School for the movie.
See it being filmed in Colne Valley
Weaver and Liam Neeson, who voices the monster, star alongside 14-year-old Lewis MacDougall who plays Conor, a young lad struggling to deal with both his mother’s terminal illness and school bullies, and who escapes into a world of fantastical stories. Pontefract actor Toby Kebbell plays his father. Weaver plays his stern grandmother.
Spanish filmmaker JA Bayona previously made the creepy horror The Orphanage. His next project will be a sequel to Jurassic World. Described variously as “scary and bleak” plus “whimsical and meandering”, A Monster Calls nonetheless represents a key moment in time: when a rising director brought an iconic star to the Colne Valley.
Weaver has praised the combination of Bayona and the script, written by Ness, as “a perfect marriage of a great director with an amazing story”.
A Monster Calls is screening at Huddersfield Odeon, Birstall Showcase and Halifax Vue.