Victory! Jonze has final cut on Where the Wild Things Are
A while ago, I posted some bleakish news from the “Where the Wild Things Are” front — Warner Brothers execs, although seemingly supportive of Spike Jonze and his, well, darker vision of the classic children’s novel, were stern about the changes that needed to be made to the picture, including making the lead character, Max, more likable and the Wild Things, which consisted of huge puppets with animated faces, more believable.
Well, I couldn’t be happier to announce that Warner Brothers, in a very bold and seriously kickass move, has decided to let Jonze ( a dude they probably shouldn’t have hired in the first place if they wanted and super-sun-shiny kids’ flick) the final say on what happens with the flick. I’m sure that he’ll still elect to make some pretty drastic changes (even if he wants to create a darker interpretation of the book, he still was probably pretty shocked to see kids running out of the theater crying during the test screenings), but at least he still know that this is HIS movie, with his ideas, visions, character developments and whatnot.
This coming from CHUD
“There was an Alan Horn conversation where he said his vision and Spike’s vision weren’t on the same page,” (producer of the film and one of the head guys at Playtone) Gary Goetzman said. “We support Spike’s vision. We’re helping him make the vision he wants to make.”
Goetzman does cop to technical problems on the picture – “Spike wanted to do things low tech. He wanted big animatronic Wild Things in the jungle, which look great. As you go deeper in the jungle and weather sets in… We misjudged that, production-wise.”
He dismissed rumors that the film isn’t kid friendly. “Kids are much smarter than [the studio types] think,” Goetzman said. “Spike won’t talk down to kids. He’s got a kid’s soul.”
That last quote is great — hopefully everyone can really convince the studio heads that this movie won’t terrify kids; it’ll just get them to think. There’s nothing wrong with that, and you have to expect a certain level of intelligence from Spike, who I feel is really one of the smartest directors in Hollywood. I mean, some of his movies just but you in a philosophical daze — I thought long and hard about “Being John Malkovich” and all the ideas presented in the film for days and days afterward.
I had obviously heard that they had problems with the Wild Things, but this is the first time I’ve heard anything about specific issues with the costumes, so that’s pretty interesting to me. The fact that the costumes just weren’t easy to work with in the jungle is better news than the costumes just didn’t play well in theaters (at least there’s a practical reason the Wild Things need to be changed, if indeed that is going to happen).
Still no timetable for reshoots, which really makes me nervous. Max Powers, the kid playing Max in the movie, is a kid, and thus must succumb to that annoying little fact of life called “growing,” so the clock is ticking on how long they have before he looks completely different from when they originally shot the flick.