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It's Not a Question of WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, But When...

Beaks here... Looking forward to Spike Jonze's filmed adaptation of Maurice Sendak's WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE? Worried about the reports of "disastrous" test screenings and rumors of massive reshoots? Curious as to how a film once scheduled for release on October 3, 2008 might still be a full year away from finished? I interrogated producer Gary Goetzman about these myriad issues today (traveling down to San Diego on the CITY OF EMBER train), and I wish I could say I got to the bottom of it all. Unfortunately, after listening and re-listening to my conversation with Goetzman (a double-team, really, shared with Variety's Anne Thompson), I'm left with a whole new set of questions about the fate of this long-anticipated film. "I think that Warner Brothers' vision and Spike Jonze's vision may be a little different," allowed Goetzman. How so? Goetzman wouldn't specify, but the allegations of a bad child performance (from Max Records) and general incompetence on Jonze's behalf are 100% untrue. Records is in the film to stay, and Jonze is goin' nowhere. Goetzman referred to Jonze as "Final Cut Spike", and refused to entertain notions about the director's potential departure. According to Goetzman, "Warner Brothers has no intention of bringing down the hammer on anyone." But is Spike's cut of the film contingent on running time? And has the switch from practical animatronics to CGI compromised the director's initial vision? I've listened to Goetzman's answers twice now, and I'm still not sure about either. The former is obviously a contractual deal (I know of another big 2008 release that's currently contending with this kind of nonsense); that I couldn't secure an unequivocal reassurance from Goetzman gives me pause. As for the CGI, there seems to be little doubt that this is a creative fallback; Jonze wanted to go full animatronic, and it just didn't work out. It's heartening that Warner Brothers and Playtone are taking the time to get WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE right... I guess. A part of me worries that the studio is planning to reshoot everything and press for a more kid-friendly tone. They're definitely not happy with the way the film plays now. If Goetzman is correct, and the fate of Jonze's picture rests in Alan Horn's hands... then how 'bout shooting me an email, Mr. Horn? Does Spike Jonze really have final cut? And will we see this movie before the end of 2009? I'll have much more on Gil Kenan's CITY OF EMBER (which looks fantastic) tomorrow. Bring on the Con!

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