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Into the Wild
Several years in the making, the eagerly anticipated Where The Wild Things Are - an adaptation of the bestselling children’s book by Maurice Sendak - has finally arrived. Tara Brady has a rare audience with the film’s director, hipster guru Spike Jonze.
Tara Brady, 04 Mar 2010
Of all the filmmakers to have left a dent in the brand new millennium, nothing says 2000-and-something quite like a Spike Jonze picture. Building on an already impressive resume chalked up in the busy world of commercials and pop promos, Mr. Jonze kicked off the decade with the release of his groundbreaking directorial debut, Being John Malkovich in 2000; he rounds it off with similar fireworks and a spectacular and unlikely adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s children’s classic, Where The Wild Things Are.
Between films, he’s ushered Jackass into the world as a headlining producer and active prankster.
His playful and surreal sensibility – “My name is pronounced Rodriguez but the ‘r’ is silent”, he suggests helpfully – has attracted other likeminded hipsters to the cause. Frequent co-conspirators include Charlie Kaufman and Michel Gondry, Björk and the Beastie Boys, Catherine Keener and Chris Cooper. The new film, in this spirit, features the vocal talents of such impeccably cool thespians as James Gandolfini and Paul Dano, a screenplay from McSweeney’s founder Dave Eggers and Karen O smooching on the soundtrack.
Sitting in a London hotel – the cardigan and tie say knowing geek chic, the garret physique says real deal – Mr. Jonze ponders the links between himself and these other quintessentially Y2K artistes.
“I don’t think there’s a shared sensibility or anything,” he says. “It’s not something I can generalise. It’s all about the individuals. When I have a conversation with Michel (Gondry), he’s always inspiring and interesting and thought provoking. Dave (Eggers) is fascinating in a totally different way.”
Since his divorce from director Sofia Coppola in 1999 – he reputedly served as the model for Giovanni Ribisi’s photographer in Lost in Translation – Mr. Jonze has found romance with another noughties notable, the former Mrs. Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams. He is currently dating Karen O.
“She inspires me as an artist,” says the director. “She never lets me lose sight of the need to play around for this one.”