The fine folks over at AICN sat down and had a chat with Spike Jonze and dug up some information I’ve been dying to hear. At the moment, it sounds like everything is as it should be in regards to the seemingly cursed adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are.
The movie, which is based on a kid’s book, was being remade in a much more dark, more real, more adult fashion. This was likely because the biggest fans of the book are those who have grown up with it and are now all in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. Because of this, the studios had a mini freak out and rumors swarmed about the $75 million project being scrapped and babied-up to appeal to a younger audience. But now it looks like they’ve regained their composure and are accepting what this movie is — and from all accounts thus far, this movie could be amazing.
Of course, by all of this, it does not mean that they’re going to add all sorts of crap and make the movie rated R for no reason. That’s not the case. The thing is, it was just much more dark than it was expected to be — like Harry Potter films have been recently, but maybe not even that dark. As mentioned in the interview, they have and are showing the movie to kids to gauge their reactions, so it will probably still be PG rated, maybe PG-13, who knows.
In this interview with AICN, Spike Jonze explained his goal with the movie perfectly:
Yeah, I think this one I just wanted to… from the beginning, I wanted it to feel a certain way. I wanted it to feel “real,” or not-real because it’s not “real,” I wanted it to feel like… like when I was a kid, and I would play with my Star Wars action figures, or read Maurice’s books and imagine me being Mickey in IN THE NIGHT KITCHEN, or whatever it was… it felt like it was everything, you know? It’s like your imagination is so convincing to yourself that… you’re there, you’re in it. And I wanted this movie to take it as seriously as kids take their imagination and not, like, fantasy it up. So I think it just started from that feeling, that it could feel like you were there with them, like Max was there with them, and not just in some fantasy movie.
That’s exactly how it should be. Imagine a movie that perfectly mirrors the imagination of a child, instead of mimicking it, or even mocking it. This passion towards the movie means that whether you love it or loathe it, the heart with show in so many ways that you shouldn’t be able to find flaw, just simply opinion. This is what I hope for anyway.
Jonze also explained what the author told him in regards to handling his book:
I think it started from what Maurice said in the beginning. One of the things I was worried about is that the book is just so beloved to so many people. And as I started to have ideas for it I was worried that I was just making what it means to me, and what the book triggers in me from when I was a kid. And I’d be worried that other people were gonna be disappointed, because it’s like adapting a poem. It can mean so much to so many different people.
And Maurice was very insistent that that’s all I had to do… just make what it was to me, just to make something personal and make something that takes kids seriously and doesn’t pander to them. He told me that when his book came out, it was considered dangerous. It was panned by critics and child psychologists and librarians, because it wasn’t how kids were talked to. And it took like only two years after the book was out that kids started finding it in the libraries, and basically kids discovered it and made it what it is. And now it’s 40 years later and it’s a classic. So he said you just have to make something according to your own instinct.
Another thing that stood out to me was Jonze talking about Max Records, the kid who plays Max. It’s interesting to hear about such a passion we so rarely get to know about because most actors couldn’t find the passion this kid has if they fought tooth and nail to find it.
But he’s amazing. For nine years old, he had so much ability to focus. He was so disciplined, like the most amazingly disciplined kid, and just the biggest heart. He just wanted me to get what I needed, and there was one night where we were doing this stuff where he was just running down the street and had to be chased, and it was a Friday night, like 10 or 11 at night, and he was just burned out.
We had 15-20 minutes before he had to legally go, and we weren’t getting it. I felt really bad for him, because he already had like dirt in his eye from this giant fan machine like an hour earlier, and he had to get his eyes washed out. So I already told him that was the last one, which was like the classic thing they made fun of me for. I’d be like, “One more! No! Wait! One more!” But anyway, I was like, “Do you think you could do it again? Because we didn’t get it.”
And he was just so tired, but he was like, “Yeah, I’ll do as much as you need. Whatever you guys need to get what you want.” So it was like this nine-year-old kid who had never been in a movie before, his first week of shooting, and he was just so committed to it.
I love that.
It sounds like the movie should finally be done around May, hopefully for release next year.
Lastly, a couple of images!
AICN mentions in the interview how the only real image released was by MTV of the boy running, but I’ve definitely seen two others as well — the one in the sunset with the Wild Things standing in a line as well as the above picture with the boy and the crown on his head, which I also believe was put out by MTV. Not sure where the mix up was, but the two that AICN were given are the above one that we’ve seen and this brand new one at right.
Click to make huge and enjoy!