Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Where the Wild Things Are

This movie has been rolling around for the past few years, but with the release of a few stills, my hopes that I will be seeing this movie someday have returned.

"Where the Wild Things Are" is an adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic children's story, where Max, a disobedient little boy sent to bed without his supper, creates his own world--a forest inhabited by ferocious wild creatures that crown Max as their ruler.

In an interview with Ain't It Cool News, Spike Jonze, the director of "Where the Wild Things Are," spoke about making the movie.

Here is an excerpt from the interview.

Moriarty: I love how you didn’t have to sit around waiting for the Henson guys to get things to work, which is a separate art form, and you were just able to focus on the kid’s performance and not have fifteen tech guys trying to hit a cue at the same time. I think that must be insanity, trying to do that.

Spike Jonze: We were trying to make it as organic as possible, but even then... but the guys in the suits, the actors in the suits were incredible, and they really worked hard. I didn’t want performances of the suits or the animation to be like traditional puppetry or animation where everything’s sort of over-indicated, everything’s like “Wow wow WOW! Hey Max, how you doing!” It’s like they think everything has to be sold.

So we shot the whole movie with the voice actors on a soundstage, and we just shot it like a workshop. It looked like some sort of ‘70s experimental theatre or something like that, because it was just this blank soundstage with shag carpeting, and they were all in their socks so the sound was muted. It was just a really dead soundstage, sound-wise, and they could just act it out. We’d take foam cubes and build little trees or huts or whatever, and then we’d just workshop the scene like I would do with a live-action movie, and just find what the scene is about through blocking and improvising dialogue. And out of that stuff, then... because puppeteering and animation isn’t spontaneous in any way, but I wanted the movie to feel alive and immediate. I knew I could get that with Max, but I wanted the wild things also to have that kind of performance, so by doing that with the actors where everything is spontaneous, the guys in the suits would feed off of that. They would watch the tapes; we’d do playback for them so they’d be acting along to James Gandolfini’s voice in these speakers. And then the guy in the suit would just “feel” what Gandolfini did in his body and his shoulders, so after playback, when he starts to go, “Well... I don’t know, Max,” or whatever the line was, every little head movement would be intentional, because Gandolfini did everything with intention. They’re actors, so they aren’t even really thinking about it. With puppeteering, you have to decide what the intention is and then you have to figure out how to communicate it, because every puppet works differently. So nothing’s immediate or spontaneous about that form.

More news to come! Catch ya' later!

No comments: