'Where the Wild Things Are': Good News, Depressing News

July 24, 2008


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.

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