Colin Trevorrow Goes Back to His Festival Roots at 'Book of Henry' Premiere
"It was out of a need to tell an original story," said the director of the Focus Feature film.
Colin Trevorrow's The Book of Henry acted as the opening night screening for this year's Los Angeles Film Festival, where the director was happy to return to his festival roots.
"I started at a film festival, and that is where I was able to share my weird little movie. I think experimenting and finding out what your voice is is a crucial step for filmmakers, and I think this festival specifically encourages new, diverse voices and perspectives," he told The Hollywood Reporter outside the ArcLight in Culver City, where the Focus Features production was having its world premiere.
After the mega-success of 2015's Jurassic World, which grossed over $1 billion at the worldwide box office, with Book of Henry, the director returned to his modest-budget roots. His break-out feature was Sundance standout Safety Not Guaranteed.
The Book of Henry follows a single mother, played by Naomi Watts, and her brilliant, if not eccentric, son as they try to save their next-door neighbor from a family secret.
Regarding the choice to follow up Jurassic World with Henry, the director explained that "it was out of a need to tell an original story. In this case, it was a small movie that didn't require all of the big budgets." Trevorrow was attracted to the script, which took writer Greg Hurwitz 18 years to complete. "All I needed was to bring good actors to do something that I think is genuinely different."
Festival programmer Jennifer Cochis explained her delight in seeing the director's return to his independent filmmaking roots. "Colin is one of those filmmakers that is able to go really big and to come back and do intimate work. Of the filmmakers living today, I think he is a master," Cochis said.
Producer Carla Hacken compared watching him work to the efforts of a young Steven Spielberg (one of Trevorrow's industry advocates).
Many of the adult stars — Naomi Watts, Lee Pace and Sarah Silverman — were absent from the Wednesday night premiere, but young actors Jacob Tremblay, Maddie Ziegler and Jaeden Lieberher were excited to watch the movie for the first time with an audience.
Trevorrow is readying for another highly anticipated big-budget escapade with Star Wars Episode IX. (Mark Hamill was at the Book of Henry premiere to support his future director).
When asked what he'll take from his experience on Henry into the galaxy far, far away, the director said, "Whether it's indie or not, it's important to remind yourself of the importance of human intimacy and the connections that people make with each other."
He concluded: "That's what should happen in these larger films as well — if you do it right."
LAFF runs June 14-22, while The Book of Henry hits theaters this Friday.