Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Go, Look!

Ain't It Cool News has a looong interview with director Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich, Video Days) about the looong delayed film version of Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are. Mind you, this isn't the typical, 'everyone was wonderful to work with' puff piece. Nor is it a gossipy, trash-talking, tell-all. It's a glimpse into the filmmaker's process, a candid discussion about adapting beloved books, and a surprisingly touching piece about childhood, memory and imagination.

Choice quote:

Jonze: 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.

The whole interview is good. Click here to read.