I was reading through my favorite blogs this past week, and I noticed a particularly interesting entry on Pitchfork about the upcoming movie version of Where the Wild Things Are. Of course, seeing the Pitchfork is music-centric, the entry was talking about the music in a “Behind the Scenes” montage. Being a book nerd, though, I was even more interested in the actual content of the video, especially because it features Maurice Sendak, the author of the book.
Sendak reveals his criteria for adapting his book. Evidently he was involved with Spike Jonze’s production from the very beginning, but the movie was definitely the director’s very different vision.
The video addresses all sorts of interesting issues – how do you make a full length feature from a small children’s book? What kind of inspiration can people draw from a work of art? What makes a book a classic in the first place? And I love how Maurice Sendak gives a shout-out to the librarians who became “pushers” of his critically maligned work.
Finally, I just had to quote Maurice Sendak’s final statement about the movie. This is a perfect way to adapt another work – allowing it to take on a different identity without losing the soul of the original work.
There will be controversy about this. But the film has an entire emotional, spiritual, visual life which is as valid as the book. He [Spike Jonze]’s done it like me whether he’s known it or not, in a more brilliant, modern, fantastical way, which takes nothing from my book, but enhances, enriches my book.
I thought Stacked readers might find this video relevant, especially after our last post inspired some discussion about the nature of adaptations. We’ll see if this movie lives up to the high praise of Sendak – I look forward to it.