Maurice Sendak, the writer of the children' classic, Where the Wild Things Are was asked by Newsweek what he would say if someone thought the movie version of his story was too scary for kids. He replied:
"I would tell them to go to hell. That's a question I will not tolerate.... if they can't handle it, go home. Or wet your pants."
The long-awaited film combines both the author's amazing imagination and the director Spike Jonze's intensely creative vision. This collaboration began more than ten years ago, when Sendak saw Jonze's video for "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys. He knew then that he had found someone who shared his creative genius.
Sendak approached Jonze to adapt the book "Harold and the Purple Crayon" (which he held rights to) but the studio's love/hate relationship with Jonze caused Tristar to reject his storyboard just two months before shooting began.
Maurice Sendak then planted the seed in Spike Jonze's ear for a film adaptation of "Where the Wild Things Are".
“I would think about it, but I couldn't work out what I could bring to it, what I could add,” Jonze says. “But then I realized maybe what the Wild Things could be: wild emotions. Through the eyes of a kid, unpredictable emotions – in yourself or the people around you – are very confusing. As soon as I hit on that I thought, 'Well, that's infinite, what you can do with that.' With that I thought I could add to the film but not from the outside, just go deeper into what the book already is.”
Sendak and Jonze's struggle to release this film is a gift to the wild thing in all of us.