Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Spike Jonze talks Maurice Sendak

The innovative director collaborated with the late, great children's book artist and author on the 2009 screen adaptation of "Where the Wild Things Are."

Spike Jonze talks Maurice Sendak

Carol (James Gandolfini) and Max (Max Records) wander the dunes. Let the wild rumpus start.
Carol (James Gandolfini) and Max (Max Records) wander the dunes. Let the wild rumpus start.

Maurice Sendak -- who died Tuesday, age 83, leaving behind a wealth of words and drawings that will live on and on -- had invited the visionary music video maker turned filmmaker Spike Jonze to try his hand at adapting what is perhaps Sendak's best known book,  Where the Wild Things Are.

In an interview with Jonze when his fittingly wild, live-action interpretation of Sendak's bedtime tale came out in 2009, the director talked about the impact Sendak's work had had on his own childhood, and on shaping his imaginative world. In the book, and the movie, a misbehaving kid, Max, is sent to bed without his supper, and somehow journies to a land inhabited by horned, clawed, feathered and unruly giant monsters.

"I would look at those pictures -- where Max's bedroom turns into a forest -- and there was something that felt like magic there," Jonze said in the interview. "Just the power of that creation, when somebody invents something that seems so familiar to you -- that's a strong feeling.... And for me, even at 5, I probably had dreams that were similar to that story in some way."

Read the piece about Jonze and Sendak's collaboration, and the making of the film version of Sendak's 1963 kid-lit classic, here.

Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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About this blog

Steven Rea has been an Inquirer movie critic since 1992. He was born in London, raised in New York City, and has lived in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Iowa City, Iowa. His column, "On Movies," appears Sundays in Arts & Entertainment, his reviews appear in the Weekend section on Fridays. He is a member of the National Society of Film Critics.

Read his most recent columns and reviews, here. He is the author of the book “Hollywood Rides a Bike,” and also curates the movie stars and bicycling photo blog, Rides A Bike.

Steven Rea Inquirer Movie Columnist and Critic
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