Wednesday, September 2, 2009

spike jonze profile in the new york times magazine

just read a wonderful spike jonze profile in this week's new york times magazine titled "Where the Wild Things Are to the Big Screen"and am even more electrified about the film's release. here are some excerpts, for those of you who don't want to read the seven-page piece. definitely read the first excerpt:
Making ‘Where the Wild Things Are’on jonze appearance and demeanor:
Jonze has bright blue eyes, a bony nose that twists slightly to one side and a skateboarder’s spare physique. From the ankles up, he dresses like a 1950s studio director, in tailored suits of gray and tan, but then you look at his feet and see he’s wearing skateboard sneakers. He speaks in a small, halting voice and sprinkles his sentences with words like “cool” and “awesome.” Although he has no children of his own, his feeling for what it’s like to be a child seems to be stronger and more immediate than that of most people his age, and children are often drawn to him. Catherine Keener, who was nominated for an Oscar for her work in “Being John Malkovich” and who plays a divorced mother in “Where the Wild Things Are,” told me that her 10-year-old son, Clyde, once asked her why Jonze didn’t live with his parents; apparently Clyde didn’t realize that Jonze was an adult.

malkovich on meeting spike jonze before the making of "being john malkovich":
After about an hour, Malkovich asked Jonze if he was American. “I thought he was Czech,” Malkovich told me. “He had such a funny way of expressing himself. It sounded like he’d learned English as a second language.” Nevertheless, Malkovich said, Jonze was “funny and charming and strange, and he seemed to desperately want to do this film.”

on working at an LA skate mag instead of going to college:
After 5 p.m., the members of the editorial team — none of them older than 21 — had the company warehouse to themselves. “We had a refrigerator full of film,” Jonze told me. “We’d skate ramps. We’d build rails. We had everything. It was, like, way better than any college.

on the script of Where the Wild Things Are:
“It’s in the visual language of, like, some sort of fantasy film, and it is a fantasy film to some degree,” he acknowledged, “but the tone of it is its own tone. We wanted it all to feel true to a 9-year-old and not have some big movie speech where a 9-year-old is suddenly reciting the wisdom of the sage.” He hadn’t set out to make a children’s movie, he said, so much as to accurately depict childhood. “Everything we did, all the decisions that we made, were to try to capture the feeling of what it is to be 9.”

on the character Max, and channelling what it feels like to be a child:
In “Where the Wild Things Are,” Max leaves home as well, but not on a quest. He sees his mother kiss a man who is not his father, and in the next scene, he’s standing atop a kitchen table, arms folded across his chest, shouting, “Woman, feed me!” The outburst escalates into a screaming match, Max bursts into tears and then he’s running — running nowhere in particular, just running, face flushed, tears streaking his cheeks. There are no princesses awaiting him, no swamps in need of rescue, only his frustrated, mixed-up emotions driving him onward. Max is confused about the way he feels, and that confusion, for Jonze, was exactly what it felt like at times to be 9.

on why warner bros execs didn't like the film:
The blogs that reported on Jonze’s disagreement with Robinov and other Warner executives tended to frame the dispute in familiar terms, as a conflict between Hollywood’s love of all things light and an auteur’s “dark” vision. Really, though, the quarrel was about something more unusual in Hollywood than darkness versus light, something more central to Jonze’s identity: the question of plot versus attitude.

on luring children and adults alike into the theater:
They’ll also be making a special effort to reach what one executive described to me as “hip, tastemaker” kids: Ugg will be selling a special “Where the Wild Things Are” kids’ boot, and Urban Outfitters has a collection of “Where the Wild Things Are” T-shirts and shadow puppets.

1 comment:

Aretha said...

It is a wonderful interview and profile! He seems to be just one of the few authentic and original guys around movie business

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