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Spike Jonze

In the five years since we’ve become friends with Spike Jonze, he has never not been working on his movie adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic children's book Where the Wild Things Are.
Κείμενο Shane Smith


Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are


Shane Smith



Where the Wild Things Are

Vice: I just saw your new film. It’s called Where the Wild Things Are

Spike Jonze:


I obviously read the book when I was a kid, and I remembered all of the characters, especially Max. But I couldn’t remember a lot of the specifics. Like, does he use a boat in the book too?

You read it when you were a kid too?


And it was one of your favorites?

Was it in your brain for a long time that you wanted to make it into a film?

Hold on, hold on. So he asked you if you wanted to do it?

Do you know who else was ever going to do it?

It must have felt amazing to be personally asked by him.

In the Night Kitchen

Where the Wild Things Are


The Nutshell Library

Ingrained in your head?

Sometimes I get mad when someone takes one of my favorite movies and then remakes it, or takes a great book and films it. There’s a huge risk of misinterpreting the original thing. Were you worried about that? Like, “Wow, it’s a huge responsibility to make the most beloved children’s book of all time into a movie”?


And then one day it clicked?

So he had been writing it?

Like freaking out but you didn’t know why you were freaked out, getting hysterical.

And the most accepted interpretation of Where the Wild Things Are is that it’s about emotions and control—or lack of control—over them as a kid.

Did there end up being any of your own childhood in there? Is there a little bit of you in Max?

You wrote this script with Dave Eggers. How long did it take you guys?

Did you have a studio before or after the script?

Why? Did the first studio hate the script when they read it?

Well, I think you did a great job on the writing, but when I was watching the movie I was thinking to myself that this must have been a hard sell to a major studio for a tent-pole release. This is obviously a big film, but it’s also so intimate and artistic…


What did they want? Shrek?

Did you feel any pressure when you were making it, or were you like, “Screw it, I’m going to do my own film and everybody can go to hell”?

What about input from studio people?

Which was what?

I was thinking that this was a very brave film for you to have made because you made art even though it’s financed by a conglomerate and there are so many millions of dollars involved and so many pressures against it. That’s incredibly brave, and I’m proud of you.

It’s going to be huge. Are you nervous about that? You’re not a public guy, and you made this thing for five years and it’s your little baby and everything, and now it’s going to be in, like, People magazine. You’re gonna be in People! Can you believe it?

Sorry. Go ahead.

And here’s another thing! I have another thing! Just kidding, go ahead.


Go! Talk about your film!

It’s pretty rare.

All of that stuff is torturous.

So you like raves, then?

No, but Virgin Atlantic Airlines, it’s like, black lights and trip-hop.

You love the purple light!

If you insist. But can we talk a little about how you made the actual Wild Things for the film?

Before you had costumes?

How do you do voice casting?

Wild Things

So I guess that’s the first element of the Wild Things, the voices. What about the people inside the suits?

Were the suits hot?


Yeah, I forget the name of the goat Wild Thing—

Right, Alexander. It was great how that character looks depressed even when he’s just standing still.

That’s really pretty amazing.


Which came last out of all these things.

The effects on the creatures’ faces were really the touches that made them totally come alive.

It must have felt insane to finally see it all put together.

You worked on this movie for something like five years.

Well you wrote it for two years, you were down in Australia shooting for a year, and then you did post work…

Do you think that a movie is won or lost in the edit room?

Do you shoot knowing that? Is it like, “Oh, I’m going to do two wide shots so I can make a choice when I’m cutting the movie”?

What would you say you like doing better? TV, music videos, commercials, skate videos, or—loaded question—feature films?

Here’s another important question. Do you want to go to the pub and get wasted?


Do you find that animating all week cuts into your partying? No, I’m just kidding. But do you feel like you are getting better at things just by making, making, making more things and working all the time?

You just jump in there.


You run a risk of not getting perfect results.


And you also can get more confident as you make more and more things.

Is it strange to think of that progression from you, the Beastie Boys, and a Bolex 16 to these big Hollywood productions?

Where the Wild Things Are

Of course not. But what would be an example of the downside to having the sort of production where you can pull off something huge like that?


That sounds incredibly stressful.


OK, so let’s review a few things.

Where the Wild Things Are. Directed by—

Written by—

Produced by—

You don’t have a producer credit? Come on.

I guess. When does it come out?

Are you excited?


When you launch a film like this, there must be crazy marketing plans.

Eat it and then lick it?

And then it’s done.

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