Juan Antonio Bayona

Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona, who made a major splash last year with the Guillermo Del Toro-produced film The Orphanage, has signed on with Universal to make his English-language debut with Hater. The film, which is based British author David Moody’s thriller novel of the same name, follows an epidemic of violence perpetrated by ordinary people.

As Variety reports, the project was originally part of Guillermo Del Toro’s slate, only to be bumped after Del Toro accepted the four-year task that is The Hobbit. Del Toro will remain involved however, serving as producer alongside Mark Johnson (The Chronicles of Narnia, The Hunting Party).

It will be interesting to see how things go for J.A. Bayona as he crosses over to not only making an English-language film, but also to making a bigger-budget studio film. He made The Orphanage on a very modest budget only to see it gross over $76 million worldwide. As well, the film was incredibly well-received by critics, holding strong with an 86% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Fans can only hope that he carries his intense visual delivery over to Hater, which could lend itself to the same sort of intensity. Based on his work on The Orphanage, I would personally consider him to be one of the most talented up-and-coming directors of the moment, so I for one will be keeping an eye on his future work.

Did you see The Orphanage? If so, what do you think of Hater as Bayona’s follow-up?

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