Director Colin Trevorrow says he hopes the twists and turns in the film are 'completely unexpected'
The first trailer for The Book of Henry is here — and it’s ready to take the audience by surprise.
Naomi Watts, Jacob Tremblay, Maddie Ziegler, and Jaeden Lieberher star in this thriller, out June 16, that sees them all caught in a plan to save young Ziegler’s character — and director Colin Trevorrow tells PEOPLE he wanted to make sure he kept the audience at the edge of their seats when it comes to the twists and turns of the movie.
“Part of what I hope will attract people to it is that it’s extremely unexpected and it takes you to places that you couldn’t really imagine the movie would ever go,” says the Jurassic World and upcoming Star Wars: Episode IX director. “At a time when I feel like audiences have become so savvy in the way that stories go, I wanted to create a film that could be genuinely surprising and unpredictable.”
The Book of Henry centers around Watts’ character, Susan Carpenter, and her two young sons: 11-year-old Henry (Lieberher) and 8-year-old Peter (Tremblay). Her brilliantly smart and mature older son takes care of her and the family — and eventually realizes there is something wrong with their next-door neighbor Christina (Ziegler) and her stepfather (Dean Norris).
Once Susan sees her son is right, she discovers a plan he’s concocted to address the situation — but it may be too extreme.
“It really is Naomi’s movie. I think that the trailer and the title of the film suggest that it’s all about Henry, but in the end it’s really her journey as a parent,” Trevorrow says about Watts. “She’s extraordinary. I think the character feels an anger that I think we’re all very familiar with right now: We look around and the world is on fire and we have this instinct to go on a mission of vengeance, but that’s not a real solution. She has to fight against the natural human instinct that we all have to use violence to right a horrible wrong and push back against it.”
Although the trailer initially paints an upbeat picture of a child prodigy, it quickly turns dark with the revelation of Ziegler’s troubles — and Trevorrow promises that it gets even darker than that, in part because of Ziegler’s performance.
“Maddie’s character is in an emotional prison and she ultimately had to take control of her own story and she does it through dance,” Trevorrow says. “Only Maddie would’ve been able to emote through her body, and emote through her art, in the way that she does in the end of this movie. The whole climax of the movie really is structured around her dance and she does a beautiful job.”
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Tremblay also plays a key role in the film, and Trevorrow says his cuteness and talent shines through once again.
“Everybody’s favorite kid,” Trevorrow calls the child star. “Jake’s character goes through a lot and the way he’s able to take the audience with him on that journey as a child is something he’s great at. He’s incredible.”
And the director reveals the young Star Wars fan‘s favorite scene made it into the trailer.
“We had this tree house that we built out in the forest. There’s a moment where he walks into the tree house and he’s feeling very sad and he’s got his jacket on and he goes, ‘Can I take my hood off like a Jedi?'”