Spike Jonze's Where the Wild Things Are Reshooting All June!

June 2, 2008
Source: Bloody Disgusting

Where the Wild Things Are

Despite all of the fuss that we (and everyone else) made in February when news hit that Spike Jonze's adaptation of Where the Wild Things Are was being entirely reshot, our worst nightmares have been realized. Bloody Disgusting reports that Warner Brothers will start reshooting Where the Wild Things Are on June 5th and will work all the way through June 30th. A full 25 days of reshoots is not a good sign for this film. We originally reported that the film was "too weird" and "too scary" for Warner Brothers' taste and was being taken out of Jonze's hands in order to be made they way the execs want it.

Since we first posted the news in February, I've heard various reports both confirming and denying the rumors. I most recently heard that while Warner Brothers is a bit upset, Spike Jonze is still involved and is putting the finishing touches on his creation. Now we get this news from Bloody Disgusting that seems to say the project is headed in the entire opposite direction. They say that "it is unclear how much is being reshot, but there are new casting calls out for various stand-in roles." While it wouldn't be right to start guessing what this means exactly, it at least seems clear that Warner Brothers is reworking this and won't be leaving it the way it was originally shot by Jonze.

On a related note, Kim Voynar at Cinematical recently caught up with Tom Noonan at Cannes, who voices one of the wild things, and questioned him on all things Where the Wild Things Are. Noonan spoke briefly about the involvement of the book's author Maurice Sendak, saying he "was involved. We'd do these video conferences with him where he'd be like, 'if you can't be children, don't be in the fucking movie.' He'd say, 'I want to see children. I don't know any adults who are able to be children,' and he'd give us these pep talks where he'd say, 'don't do what you always do, do what you've always needed to do." I'm not exactly sure what to make of that, but it's good to hear Sendak is involved and is pushing strongly to maintain the original vision of the book.

It's my understanding that Where the Wild Things Are is being edited to be more family friendly. If I may take a moment to warn Warner Brothers - you've got another Speed Racer on your hands! I love Warner Brothers and usually praise them for their marketing efforts, but if you recall, Speed Racer was one of the few times where they screwed up. The studio made a brilliant decision in choosing Spike Jonze to direct the adaptation, but is ruining the film that he created all because they want this to be a kids movie! At this point, everyone knows that it would do much, much better if it was just released the way Jonze intended it to be seen, because if they start messing with the balance between appealing to kids and genius filmmaking, it's guaranteed to flop.

Let's hope these reshoots aren't part of a new plan to completely redo most of the movie. Our original report said that Warner Brothers wasn't happy with Max Records, the kid actor playing Max, and that they didn't like the tone and wanted to all the way back to the script for revisions. I'm fearing for the worst and guessing that this means the execs have finally worked things out the way they want and are now reshooting it in order to actually get the footage they need to make it family friendly. Considering the release date is still set for 2009, I'm guessing they're expecting us to forget about all of this in 16 months time. And from what I can tell, they'll regret this decision 16 months from now when the film flops.

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This is a very sad day.... I just hope one day they release a director's cut from Jones or show his version in the theatre. But i know that will never happen!!! 🙁

REAL6 on Jun 2, 2008


I think it makes sense that they want the movie to be family friendly because it is a children's book. What would be awful is if a bunch of parents took their kids to a film based on a children's book and then they didn't get a children's movie. Parents would be furious and then main stream media would pick it up because what does that say when a movie studio turns a children's book into a movie that is not for children? It doesn't make sense imo.

Janet on Jun 2, 2008


I saw spikes cut a while back and I'm glad that I did, it was pretty damn good, but then again I'm not a kid anymore, lol. I see Janet's point but hope that Spike does get to do a recut.

Herbert on Jun 2, 2008


Will they at least put Spike Jonze's cut of the movie on the DVD? Hopefully!

USvsIreland on Jun 2, 2008


Janet, that's fine in theory, however, you're missing the point. The adaptation that Spike Jonze made was artistic interpretation of the book and if it was a little more adult, then I'm sorry. But the studio is taking it out of his hands and butchering it and when that happens it loses all of the integrity that it had. Your point is exactly what WB is thinking, but the problem is that what Jonze created wasn't necessarily 100% for kids (although people claim otherwise) and that's not bad. Really, just because it's a kid book, doesn't mean it has to be a kids movie. This is Jonze's artistic interpretation and it can be whatever he wants it to be, even an R rated horror or whatever. But alas, apparently it was just a little too edgy.

Alex Billington on Jun 2, 2008


Its the studios money, its a children's book, its gonna be a more child friendly movie, plain and simple. They chose Jonze because they thought he was gonna deliver what they wanted. He didn't. If it was my money Id have it re shot to what I wanted as well. This is only logical. Thats not to say I personally wouldnt like his vision much more, thats not the point at all, its the studios money.

Richard on Jun 2, 2008


Well, Fuck!

terces7 on Jun 2, 2008


I kind of agree with Janet but WB should have been more proactive during the initial filming too so this wouldn't have happened.

Ryan on Jun 2, 2008


It's always the execs that screw things up! Let directors be directors, as they were hired to do. There's too many "Hollywood" endings that it's kind of sad the state the movie business is in. I want to see something fresh and original.

CJD on Jun 2, 2008


I have to disagree with Alex on this one. If they're getting scared that it will be another Speed Racer, they're reasons are not unfounded. I'm all for artistry in cinema & maintaining creative integrity - but I do draw some lines when it involves children's stories. Where the Wild Things are would be considered a children's movie by any marketing stretch of the imagination, no matter what he produces - and with that in mind it should be kept palatable to children. The Simpsons is an example of something where in-jokes go right over the head of younger viewers, but I'm assuming from his previous work that it's a very dark take on the classic children's tale. I look to the Grinch more as an example - although many people (including my young nephews) liked it, I couldn't help but feel like it was turned into a nightmarish version of something very pure and innocent, healthy for young minds to chew on. I do hope Spike's cut makes it out there somehow, but I'd rather take my nephews to something that is definitely made w/ kids in mind, w/ maybe a healthy dose of knowing nods & easter eggs for adult viewers. All said- none of us have seen either cut, so I think it's safe to say that Warner Bros. Exec. dept. is wrangling w/ it's own recent history of large-scale children's fare, and how best to approach things moving forward. Shame Spike Jonze had to get stuck in the middle of it. He's a TRUE genius - right up w/ Gondry & Charlie Kaufman.

Djo. on Jun 2, 2008


Well put djo.

Ryan on Jun 2, 2008


This book is a book that has been around for almost half of a decade. I think even though it is a childrens book, it was read by thousands of kids who are now adults. I don't know about others but I loved the book as a kid and I still do. I think that they would make a hell of a lot more money appealing to a much much larger audience and keeping the film the way it has already been shot in the hands of the director they gave it to. I find it idiotic and rather stupid for the studio to take a finished film and dumb it down for children when it could be something so much more. Now I still realize that I havn't seen the movie yet and that it's the studios money and all that but I think they would have a much better chance leaving it in the hands of its original director.

Anthony on Jun 2, 2008


That's just the way big brother industry works.

dustyman1505 on Jun 2, 2008


I think there's just way too much speculation in this piece. "that seems to say the project is headed in the entire opposite direction." Really?

The Playlist on Jun 4, 2008


I think before people freak out, they should probably wait to see the final cut. Maybe it will still have the tone Jonze wants and be acceptable for children to watch. because either way, people are going to think this is a children's film.

JacktheBaron on Jul 6, 2008


This book was scary for me when i was a kid and thats the whole point. The book is made up mainly of pictures with very few words so as to make your imagination run wild! I have complete faith in Spikes vision and the execs would have signed off on the script and storyboards before filming began. What i'm hearing is that the effects for the creatures mouth movements are more challenging than first thought and this is what is holding it up??? So many kids who are now adults grew up with this film so i don't think there will be a problem getting people to see it.

Kenman on Jul 16, 2008

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