Chris Hordley in Film & TV

09/01/2017

A Monster Calls – Filming Locations

When all is lost, something wild will find you. 

Adapted from the award-winning novel by Patrick Ness and brought to the big screen by acclaimed director J.A.Bayona, this uniquely powerful and visually spectacular story of love, loss and hope will teach us all about the miraculous healing power of the imagination and the remarkable strength we discover within. 

12 year old Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall) is a young boy growing up whilst struggling to take care of his sick mother, cope with an absent father and tolerate his difficult grandmother, with a daily existence at school that provides little respite. Withdrawing into a world of monsters and fairy tales, Conor seeks to find solace from the events unfolding around him. Conor unexpectedly summons a most unlikely, who bursts forth with terrifying grandeur from an ancient towering yew tree; a 40-foot-high creature who appears at Conor’s bedroom window at 12:07 every night. The Monster has stories to tell, and he insists that Conor hears them As Conor’s fear starts to give way to courage, he discovers an unknown strength and learns what it means to truly let go. The Academy-Award winning team behind Pan’s Labyrinth and The impossible bring together an incredible cast including Liam Neeson, Felicity Jones and Sigourney Weaver for an extraordinary journey that is as powerful as the art of storytelling itself Creative England’s Productions Services team were on board from March 2014; the films’ Production Manager at Apaches Entertainment called for local expertise on filming locations, permissions and freelance crew in Yorkshire and the North West of England.  

Filming locations

Over the following six months our Production Liaison Managers Chris Hordley (Yorkshire & East Midlands) and Bobby Cochrane (North West) worked with the film’s Location Team to source locations across the iconic Pennine hills, arranging location visits, assisting with road closures and parking; and advising on a range of practical issues including filming at night to ensure the shoot ran smoothly.

Location Manager Tow Howard, Location Manager says:

A Monster Calls is set in a Northern town, undescribed in the book; I was able to choose the best bits of West Yorkshire and Manchester to build Conor’s world. From Blackpool to Slaithwaite… the production moved through the landscape of metropolitan city and wild Pennine Hills. The most evocative place was Marsden (in West Yorkshire) as Conor’s home town with its looming hills overlooking the town. His school was made up from two locations, the exterior being in Slaithwaite, also in the Colne Valley, which has high hills on the horizon… Filming was assisted by Creative England throughout the two regions we filmed in using their expert knowledge to bring a large scale movie production to this region. 

Where did A Monster Calls film?

Filming took place at a range of locations across the famous Pennine region, look out for:

  • Marsden Village, West Yorkshire
  • Colne Valley High School, Huddersfield
  • Glossopdale Community College, Derbyshire
  • Rivington Pike, Bolton
  • Blackpool Pleasure Beach
  • North Pier Promenade, Blackpool
  • Great Times Restaurant, Preston
  • Castlefield, Manchester
  • Didsbury, Manchester
  • St Thomas’ Church, Nr Delph
  • Ramsbottom, Bury

Creative England also worked with range of local Filming Partners including Kirklees Council, Manchester City Council, Bolton Council and Bury Council and local organisations such as Kirklees Neighbourhood Services to secure vital filming permissions in the region.

Anne-Marie Parker at Kirklees Council says:

Our close relationship with Chris at Creative England means Kirklees’ locations such as Marsden Village are regularly under the nose of major movie directors.  A Monster Calls is the latest in a number of productions we have supported via Creative England’s Filming Partnership.  This is fantastic for the region and most importantly, good for Kirklees businesses and our economy, including huge potential for local tourism. 

How were Creative England involved in Crewing?

Nicky Ball, our National Crew & Facilities Manager, was contacted by the films’ Line Producer Sarah Jane Wheale who used Creative England’s crew database and the job posting service to source her production team in the region.  Nicky then worked with the team who were hired to source a range of local freelance crew including a Crowd 2nd Assistant Director, Production Account Assistant and local Script Supervisors.  Nicky also assisted Location Manager Tom Howard in sourcing a regionally based location team including a Yorkshire based Assistant Location Manager and Location Assistant.


For Creative England Location and Crew support in Yorkshire, Derbyshire and North West of England email the Production Services Team: Production@CreativeEngland.co.uk

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