Jul 24 2008'Where the Wild Things Are': Good News, Depressing News


In case you haven't been following the disheartening saga of Where the Wild Things Are and its production woes, the rumor that's been going around for months is that director Spike Jonze's creative vision didn't match the studio's blander, Happy Meal toy-friendly ideals, leading to reshoots, delays, and questions of whether we'd ever see Jonze's cut. But here's some reasonably positive news from CHUD:

Good news: Gary says that Spike has final cut. And that Playtone is standing behind him.

"There was an Alan Horn conversation where he said his vision and Spike's vision weren't on the same page," 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."

Man, why do studios have to be such a-holes? Unsurprisingly, the answer is because the studios are run largely by a-holes. A friend of mine recently ran into one of these dudes at a Chicago bar, and the meathead, who somehow had insider knowledge of Where the Wild Things Are, provided some insight on how the "other side" (a-hole side) sees things. Below the cut, read my friend's entire really depressing email.

I was talking to a Dude who works in television advertising the other night. He spoke of how he worked with this famous FAMOUS special effects post producer of some sort. I was really supposed to be impressed. The post producer guy he spoke of had just come off the initial leg of production on Where the Wild Things Are and I got to talking about how the film's production has been so rocky. I asked him what the deal was.

Way he put it, this post producer guy sounded more like an efficiency expert, admonishing Spike Jonze and his crew for their work habits and fostering a vision that would "never fly." The dude went on and on about how cool the producer was and how Spike Jonze was just fucking the film up. The producer had told Spike "what to do" and when Spike didn't listen, the producer was more than happy to pretty much tell Spike, "I told you so."

It was a really disheartening moment. There I was, sitting in a bar, too poor to afford a can of Hamm's for $2.50, talking to a beefy meathead Dude who was positively delighted to be working on the hatchet man/efficiency/middle man side of the creative world. He spoke through his frothy chilled glasses of expensive imports of how "cool" this guy was who had been joyfully working to squelch Spike Jonze's vision.

I realize I'm overreacting and that there have to be these kind of dry, party-pooper assholes in the entertainment industry. However that in no way takes the sting away from meeting one of them and finding out that not only is he condoning and encouraging the creative asphyxiation of one of my favorite directors, he also happens to be part of the collective Dude consciousness that has been vexing me my entire life.

Reader Comments

Gee, your friend doesn't sound too much like a Hippie.....

Do not mistake creativity with hippiness. Pot is the only common denominator between the 2. The thing that made your friends bar fly so disgusting is the fact that he worshipped this producer and was actually giddy about stiffling the creative process. What a jackhole.

the book was great. I hope the movie doesnt fuck this up, like the remake of Charlie and the Chocalate Factory one by Tim Burton.

Charlie & the Chocolate Factory fyi was done more to the way Roald Dahl envisioned it than that cookie cutter crap that came out of the 70's. Roald Dahl absolutley despised the Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie, and refused to have a sequel be made, and wanted to stop production on it. The Tim Burton script is the only one that Roald Dahl's trusted companion picked, because she stated that it was the only script that she or he before he passed on, that keep to his vision, and that was the reason the movie was the way it was. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was such a great movie, and all the Tim Burton haters need to reassess what makes a movie good. Tim Burton is an true artist, and if you just want to see prefabricated Hollywood bullshit, stick to Michael Bay & George Lucas.

Well, till Spike's masterpiece comes out, maybe this clip can entertain:


Stoopid Doods.

Sometimes being closer to the book isn't necessarily a great thing.

What a disheartening story. Anyone involved in or even just enthusiastic about the creative world knows people like Dude are out there, but I don't think any one of them could withstand a full-on Dude Attack like this one and come out unscathed. Not anyone who's idealistic enough to believe, somewhere deep down in there, that despite the business end of everything there IS still room for uncompromised artistic vision in the production process, anyway.....

I realize there's a million bars in Chicago, but since I work in one of them I can't help wondering which one this story happened at....

Why should a director be allowed to do whatever she or he wants when the studio is paying him or her very handsomely and is funding the entire production? If it's the studio's money, shouldn't they have a little bit of a say?


Why shouldn't a director be able to do whatever he wants when it is his skills and vision that will create the film? If the studio thinks they can do it without Spike Jonze then they shouldn't have hired him.

Of course it's a balance, and no side can have 100% control, but I don't think Jonze would have taken a job that at the end of the day had to sell merchendise. He's being controlling probably because at the very start the studio agreed that he would have control.

I have no idea what was agreed upon at the beginning, nor could anyone know whether or not Jonze would've taken the job if he'd known that "they had to sell merchandise." But I do know that if a director wants to do whatever he wants with his "skills and creative vision," he ought to pay for it himself, not with money from a big corporation.

if u make a book from a movie stick to the book

Goetzman said. "Spike won't talk down to kids. He's got a kid's soul."

Why has no one commented on this? Is Spike going to let this poor kid's soul go after he is done with the movie? What kind of strange necromancer is this Spike character anyway? Maybe he deserves to have his creativity squelched if he thinks capturing innocent children's souls is a means to increase your vision!

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