Archive for Paul Dano

Where Have the Wild Things Been?

Posted in adaptations, books, cast & crew, cult status, directors, fantasy, film, filmmaking, news, writers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 2, 2009 by worldofmatmos

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Undoubtedly one of Generation-X’s greatest filmmakers, Spike Jonze is known to film geeks worldwide for his magnificent visual style and ability to evoke the beauty and the strangeness of the stories and characters he films. With the long-gestating production of his adaptation of Maurice Sendak‘s beloved classic children’s tale Where the Wild Things Are, Jonze and company seem to have crafted a jarringly beautiful representation of the prose. Despite studio interference, visual effects set-backs, and rumors of Jonze having to go back to square-one and shoot everything completely over, it looks like things may be on track, as the film is still looking at an October 16 release.

Whilst that is still months away, Jonze will have the time to perfectly craft the picture and hone the performances of the characters. Beautifully photographed by Jonze’s long-time collaborator Lance Acord, and shot in the Australian wilderness, Where the Wild Things Are will have a “look and feel [that] is very naturalistic—when our creatures knock down trees, they really knock down trees,” explains Jonze.

The production, which has been ongoing since 2006, has been plagued by studio interference on many of the artistic decisions. First, there were issues with the creature work – CG versus practical effects – and Spike’s decision to go with an unknown lead, 9-year-old Max Records, who plays Max, who apparently received ill reviews from some during an early test-screening last year. According to the production team, Records is fantastic as Max, and it will be his performance that will ultimately carry the picture. When will studio suits realize that when they’re dealing with an artist of Jonze’s caliber, they just need to sign the checks, sit back, shut the fuck up, and the let the man do his job? Seriously.

where-the-wild-things_lWith an excellent script (with much approval by Sendak himself) by Jonze and mighty scribe Dave Eggers, the film stars Jonze-favorite Catherine Keener, James Gandolfini, Paul Dano, Lauren Ambrose, and Tom Noonan. This film will not only be embraced by fans of the book, nor only by film geeks, but it looks destined to become a children’s cult-classic in its own right. It will definitely be one of the most personal films of the year. Hopefully it will receive its dues and the studio suits that have denounced it will get their comeuppance.

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