Where the Wild Things Are may be in real trouble, and may have to be reshot. Apparently filming is running into some major obstacles in the area of "special effects", but the actual reason may have more to do with Warner Bros. not caring for the films' tone and a dislike of the lead actor.
A portion of the special effects side of the controversy...
The film uses people in huge Jim Henson Creature Shop suits, and the plan was to shoot the suits and animate the Wild Things' faces later. That has been proving to be more technically difficult than anyone had foreseen, even though test footage had been shot (a leaked clip from the movie that hit the internet this weekend was in fact some of that test footage, according to a statement from Spike Jonze). This is a bad situation, obviously, but one where some footage could be salvaged, meaning that a complete and total reshoot of the film wouldn't be necessary.
A portion of the Warner Bros. concern over tone and the lead actor...
Sources tell me that the suits at Legendary and Warner Bros are not happy with Max Records, the actor playing Max, the mischievous boy who is crowned King of the Wild Things. Worse than that, they don't like the film's tone and want to go back to the script drawing board, possibly losing the Spike Jonze/Dave Eggers script when they do it. Apparently the film is too weird and 'too scary,' and the character of Max is being seen as not likable
And, from YouTube, the leaked test footage that has been circulating, and causing concerns that the entire film looks like this...
Also, for an interesting look back, a 1983 test scene for a possible Disney treatment of Where the Wild Things Are, combining traditional cel animation with state of the art computer animation, under the direction of newcomer John Lassiter...
Edited by Baal_T'shuvah, 21 February 2008 - 10:27 AM.
Can Spike Jonze save 'Where the Wild Things Are'? Something has gone very wrong with "Where the Wild Things Are," the much-anticipated Spike Jonze adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic children's book. The $80-million film, with a script by literary cool-guy Dave Eggers, was filmed largely in the second half of 2006 in Australia. It was originally slated for release this October but got pushed back to the fall of 2009. Last week it disappeared entirely from the Warner Bros. release schedule, a sign of continuing troubles. Patrick Goldstein, Los Angeles Times, July 11
According to this brief article, Warner Bros. has now set an Oct 16th, 2009 release date for Where the Wild Things Are. No info on what is actually happening to the film (rewrites, reshoots, recasting, etc.) during that 13 month time period.
That Mr. Sendak fears that his work is inadequate, that he is racked with insecurity and anxiety, is no surprise. For more than 50 years that has been the hallmark of his art. The extermination of most of his relatives and millions of other Jews by the Nazis; the intrusive, unemployed immigrants who survived and crowded his parents’ small apartment; his sickly childhood; his mother’s dark moods; his own ever-present depression — all lurk below the surface of his work, frequently breaking through in meticulously drawn, fantastical ways.
He is not, as children’s book writers are often supposed, an everyman’s grandpapa. His hatreds are fierce and grand, as if produced by Cecil B. DeMille. He hates his uncle (who made a cruel comment about him when he was a boy); he hates anything to do with God or religion, and Judaism in particular (“We were the ‘chosen people,’ chosen to be killed?”); he hates Salman Rushdie (for writing an excoriating review of one of his books); he hates syrupy animation, which is why he is thrilled with Mr. Jonze’s coming film of his book “Where the Wild Things Are,” despite rumors of studio discontent.
“I hate people,” he said at one point, extolling the superior company of dogs, like his sweet-tempered German shepherd, Herman (after Melville).
He is, at heart, a curmudgeon, but a delightful one, with a vast range of knowledge, a wicked sense of humor and a talent for storytelling and mimicry.
So he spends his days pondering his heroes: Mozart, Keats, Blake, Melville and Dickinson. He admires and yearns for their “ability to be private, the ability to be alone, the ability to follow some spiritual course not written down by anybody.”
Mr. Sendak is quick to insist that a vast distance stands between his own accomplishments and theirs. “I’m not one of those people,” he said. “I can’t pretend to be.”
Still, he has the feeling that “I will do something yet that is purely for me but will create for someone in the future that passion that Blake and Keats did in me.”