Exclusive: The World of Where the Wild Things Are

Spike Jonze, Maurice Sendak and more take RT on a journey through the film.

Max Records, actor (Max):
Max RecordsOne of my favourite scenes is the dirt clod scene, where the Wild Things and Max are chucking all this dirt at each other. I had a scene where I had to run through the forest and it was like a minefield with all these dirt clods exploding everywhere. That was maybe my favourite scene. My favourite moment was sliming Spike. There's a scene where I get licked by a Wild Thing and covered in all this goo. So I got our revenge by covering Spike with goo, too!

Where the Wild Things Are

Catherine Keener, actor (Max's Mom):
Catherine KeenerObviously Max and I didn't know each other when we arrived on set, and I had to show him that he could trust me. I tried to play quite hard with Max, and encouraged him to really let loose. It's funny, I have a young son who was on set and he asked me why Spike didn't live with his mum and dad. I said it was because he was an adult, but that says a lot about Spike.

Catherine O'Hara, voice actor (Judith):
Catherine O'HaraSpike is very much in touch with the child within. In fact, even more so than the man without! No, seriously, we had a wild time on this movie. We improvised with this wonderful dialogue everyday and had such terrific fun. We'd do a lot of childish things and go really nuts. Which was just what Spike wanted.

Where the Wild Things Are

Spike Jonze:
The Wild Things are such a strange invention of Maurice's and it's weird to think that at some point they did not exist in the world. For me, since I knew it as a kid I knew thes designs, I knew these characters, and it is as though they always existed in this strange surreal dream-like way. Maurice had tapped into some primal thing when he created them. They are furry and cuddly but giants with teeth and nails, and they're dangerous. But then they have the proportions. Their heads are half the size of their body so they are baby-like in that way. And they're hairy. They have really captured something. It is creativity at its best. They are as close as you can get to creating something that really is magic.

Forest Whitaker, voice actor (Ira):
Forest WhitakerWe didn't get inside the suits -- they had other actors for that -- but we did the voices and Spike captured our facial expressions to layer onto the body suits, to get the facial expressions and so forth. Once, he even interviewed us as characters, to build a little back-story for us, so we could get a better handle on who were and how we viewed our universe.

Where the Wild Things Are

Spike Jonze:
When we first screened the movie to the studio they were a bit freaked out. They thought it was too scary for kids. But we didn't make this movie just for kids. This is a movie about childhood; for everyone. Thankfully, though, they learned to love our movie. The kids weren't scared, it was just the executives that were scared. I think kids are just like us. They see something that's honest and they are attracted to it. Kids are attracted to things that are funny but I think all of us are also attracted to things that are true.

Maurice Sendak:
No one could have guessed that when I created the Wild Things they'd have such a hold over people, even today. Lots have people have wanted to make the movie, but I only wanted Spike to make it. He's crazy and whacked out and wild, but he's so gifted, creatively and dramatically. I think he's done a wonderful job bringing my book the screen. I'm so pleased that I pursued him.

Where the Wild Things Are is out in the UK this weekend.

Comments

Bed Head

Ekaterina Kutznetsova

I'm so saddened that this movie didn't do "better" (financially speaking, in terms of public perception, etc). And not only because it was unfairly maligned in its own right. (A la "Babe: Pig in the City".)

Perhaps MORE IMPORTANTLY due to the negative impact WTWTA's "failure" will have on (the potential for) film versions of "In the Night Kitchen", "Outside Over There" and (most especially) "Higglety Pigglety Pop! or There Must Be More To Life" (Sendak's greatest work, imo).

Dec 7 - 06:07 AM

Confounded

Matthew Bertram

It was such a great movie for me. I have a handful of movies that nostalgically make me remember my childhood; ones from my youth that trigger any range of memories. But this was the first movie I've seen than brought me back to my childhood.

In a way, it was kind of like Watchmen. It was so unapologetically created, and that makes people balk. They simply said, "This is the movie I wanted made; the one I felt needed to be made. If you don't like it, F' you." Which isn't exactly the key to commercial success.

But this will still be a member of my movie collection the day it comes out.

Dec 7 - 07:46 AM

Nine Oh Two

joe schmoe

eh, don't get me wrong, the movie definetly had promise, but I just didn't agree w/ the execution. Watching this movie is like having a conversation w/ a little kid, its fascinating to watch them as their imagination goes in a hundred different directions but after about 2 minutes it becomes unbearable.

I did like the way Jonze blended physical objects and CG to create the monsters though, if anything, I think that is the future of hollywood special effects and not ridiculous looking movies like avatar, or as I like to call it, James Cameron's King Kong.

Dec 7 - 11:12 AM

misterkyle1901

kyle T

This was a great movie, and I too wished more people saw it. A lot of parents assumed that it would be too scary for their children judging by the rumors and the critical opinion. But it is perhaps the parents who needed to see it most.

Dec 7 - 12:06 PM

David Dangelico

David Dangelico

I thought the movie was beautiful/incredible. It really moved me to my core. I can, however, understand why some people may not like it. Its just a matter of opinion. The film is a classic in my book though

Dec 7 - 12:36 PM

Alexson Philip

Alexson Philipiah

so far the film has earned about 95 million world wide, which is bad, as the budget for the film was 100 mill. so another box office flop, but astro boy was even worse, as it got terrible reviews and only 30 mill worldwide. with a 100 mill budget.

Dec 7 - 01:14 PM

Nine Oh Two

joe schmoe

You do realize how incosequential a film's theatrical run is, don't you? Movies make more money of network syndication and dvd sales. Besides, the budget usually doesn't include the millions of dollars they spend of promotion anyways. Movies are long term investments, it usually takes them over a year to start making a profit.

Dec 7 - 01:36 PM

Nine Oh Two

joe schmoe

You do realize how incosequential a film's theatrical run is, don't you? Movies make more money of network syndication and dvd sales. Besides, the budget usually doesn't include the millions of dollars they spend of promotion anyways. Movies are long term investments, it usually takes them over a year to start making a profit.

Dec 7 - 01:36 PM

paganif1

Carter Elkin-Paris

I loved this movie and really only had one major complaint; listening to other people bad mouth it. I am not a big enough film snob to flat out put down (most) movies. I see the reverse of that happen with casual movie-goers though. Their main complaints, 1) thin on story, 2) not "kiddy" enough.

1) The source material is maybe a five minute read. Trying to make a new narrative on top of it would have felt forced. Spike new this and it is why it took 5 years to get a final screenplay.
2) I do not care at all when people don't like movies I do. I do get annoyed when they say movies are bad because they were not what was expected. A movie should not be faulted for your false expectations!
I love the fact that Spike made this for himself. It saddens to me see it's "failure" because the Transformers and Tweenlights of the world are more commercially viable. Oh well

Dec 7 - 07:30 PM

jvcarroll

James C.

I like the source material, the fantastic work by the skilled artists and all of the performances. I found the rest to be self-indulgent. There wasn't enough movie there to satisfy the healthy budget. This could have been a film aired and celebrated every year and kept true to the source material. This film does neither. I'm fortunate to have viewed it once. It's unlikely I'll feel the need to revisit it. I usually like this sort of film. This is an example why good ideas outside of the mainstream can%u2019t get the appropriate funds in order to proceed. Ultimately film is about storytelling. This tale had less substance than the book.

Dec 7 - 10:42 PM

summer l.

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Dec 13 - 10:51 PM

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