Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are Now

The film version of Maurice Sendak’s children’s classic, Where the Wild Things Are, will fill a screen near you this fall.

The screenplay was written by Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers, with Jonze directing Forest Whitaker, Katherine Keener, Paul Dano and James Gandolfini.

Viewers who just can’t wait for the film to open can get a real solid tease from the film’s trailer, released today.

Where the Wild Things Are was published in 1963 and won the Caldecott Medal in 1964. According to Wikipedia, adaptations of the book have been numerous and have taken many forms, including an animated adaptation in 1973, a children’s opera, a failed Disney CGI project in 1983, a ballet and a stage musical.

Sendak, who will be 81 in June, is also the writer/illustrator of In the Night Kitchen, often listed among the most frequently banned books of the 20th century. At the time of his birthday last year, The New York Times’ Patricia Cohen offered up a dark portrait of Sendak:
That Mr. Sendak fears that his work is inadequate, that he is racked with insecurity and anxiety, is no surprise. For more than 50 years that has been the hallmark of his art. The extermination of most of his relatives and millions of other Jews by the Nazis; the intrusive, unemployed immigrants who survived and crowded his parents’ small apartment; his sickly childhood; his mother’s dark moods; his own ever-present depression — all lurk below the surface of his work, frequently breaking through in meticulously drawn, fantastical ways.

He is not, as children’s book writers are often supposed, an everyman’s grandpapa. His hatreds are fierce and grand, as if produced by Cecil B. DeMille. He hates his uncle (who made a cruel comment about him when he was a boy); he hates anything to do with God or religion, and Judaism in particular (“We were the ‘chosen people,’ chosen to be killed?”); he hates Salman Rushdie (for writing an excoriating review of one of his books); he hates syrupy animation, which is why he is thrilled with Mr. Jonze’s coming film of his book “Where the Wild Things Are,” despite rumors of studio discontent.

“I hate people,” he said at one point, extolling the superior company of dogs, like his sweet-tempered German shepherd, Herman (after Melville).

He is, at heart, a curmudgeon, but a delightful one, with a vast range of knowledge, a wicked sense of humor and a talent for storytelling and mimicry.
The New York Times
piece is here.

Jonez’ film will open October 16th.

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Blogger Jena said...

This looks fabulous - I teared up watching the trailer, seeing those familiar lumpy, grinning Wild Things alive on the screen.

Thursday, March 26, 2009 at 7:55:00 AM PDT  

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