May 8th, 2012
05:13 PM ET

The 'MCA,' Maurice Sendak connection: Spike Jonze

Two rather large shadows have fallen over the pop culture landscape in the past few days. On Friday, we learned of the death of Beastie Boys co-founder Adam "MCA" Yauch, who succumbed to cancer at age 47.

And then on Tuesday, it was announced that beloved "Where the Wild Things Are" author and illustrator Maurice Sendak died of complications from a recent stroke at the age of 83.

Sendak died in Connecticut, but was born in Brooklyn, New York. Yauch and the Beastie Boys, whose 1994 album was called "To the 5 Boroughs," also called New York home.

But Yauch, the Beasties and Sendak shared another common denominator: director/producer Spike Jonze.

Jonze directed several videos for the Beastie Boys, including "Sure Shot," "Sabotage" and "Don't Play No Game That I Can't Win."

After being impressed with Jonze's directing of the film "Being John Malkovich," Sendak chose him to direct the film adaptation of 2009's "Where the Wild Things Are."

"He's a genius because he has all the qualities that are unspoiled by Hollywood. He's a real artist," Sendak told CNN.

Jonze created a website to chronicle the many facets of production that helped bring the film to life. It's well worth a read for anyone who's ever fancied themselves an honorary "Wild Thing."

"I didn't set out to make a children's movie," Jonze said of the two-year project. "I set out to make a movie about childhood. It actually doesn't seem that interesting to make a movie that you're going to categorize as one thing or another."

In 2009, Jonze talked to VICE co-founder Shane Smith about the film.

"It was a really simple idea - to take the feeling of the book and expand who Max is and who the Wild Things are. And my idea was the Wild Things are wild emotions," Jonze said. "It was that simple, but it was enough for me to know I could explore that idea and still be true to the book. I think that as a kid, for me at least, wild emotions were probably the things that were the scariest."

Click on the video to see Jonze in action as he directs the larger-than-life Wild Things on set. Plus, see how the real-life actors brought their characters to life from the confines of a sound studio.

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Filed under: Books • Celebrities • RIP

soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. fartsmell

    I plan on calling a ten point company album for research.

    May 10, 2012 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  2. article has a point?

    What was the point of this article? Terrible waste. You're using two popular deaths to talk about Spike Jonze.

    May 9, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. snafu24

    RIP MCA
    The album is from 2004 not 1994. Also, MCA's movie company did a short movie on Maurice Sendak directed by Spike Jonze. I think that's a closer connection. Do better some research.

    May 9, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  4. Stizzy

    Please correct the ten year typo...

    May 9, 2012 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
  5. Geo

    "Yauch and the Beastie Boys, whose 1994 album was called "To the 5 Boroughs," So the author here is not familiar with the Beastie Boys, pathetic.

    May 9, 2012 at 2:57 am | Report abuse |
  6. SMU

    RIP MCA. Go where The Wild Things are. Thanks for all the good times.

    May 8, 2012 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |

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