Follow us:

Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

October 9, 2009 at 9:31 AM

A chat with the makers of “Where the Wild Things Are”

Like a lot of you, I grew up with Maurice Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are,” and in recent months have been wildly curious about how it might translate to a feature film. In a recent Newsweek interview, director Spike Jonze said that while the studio “thought I was making a children’s film, I thought I was making a film about childhood” — and, having seen the film last week, I think it’s a very accurate description. (I’ll save my full review for next week, but will say this: It’s not really a children’s film, though some children may well enjoy it.)
The Newsweek article is a roundtable with Jonze, co-screenwriter Dave Eggers and the very quotable Sendak. Asked what he would tell parents who were concerned that the “Wild Things” movie may be too scary for their kids, he said, “I would tell them to go to hell. That’s a question I will not tolerate. . . . If they can’t handle it, go home.”
And he offered this fascinating explanation for how the monsters in the book came to be:

The monsters were based on relatives. They came from Europe, and they came on weekends to eat, and my mom had to cook. Three aunts and three uncles who spoke no English, practically. They grabbed you and twisted your face, and they thought that was an affectionate thing to do. And I knew that my mother’s cooking was pretty terrible, and it also took forever, and there was every possibility that they would eat me, or my sister or my brother. We really had a wicked fantasy that they were capable of that. We couldn’t taste any worse than what she was preparing. So that’s who the Wild Things are. They’re foreigners, lost in America, without a language. And children who are petrified of them, and don’t understand that these gestures, these twistings of flesh, are meant to be affectionate. So there you go.

So there you go. “Where the Wild Things Are” opens in theaters next Friday.

(Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Entertainment)

Comments

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►